“Can I see a witness?”
Adams United Methodist Church
Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church
Pastor Missy McCarthy
Music: Sue& Craig Gamet, Mike Tyo
April 18, 2021 3rd Sunday of Easter
1 John 3:1-5
Last week I asked you to collect evidence of sacrifices so that we can share God’s love. What have you found?
What does it take for you to believe something? What do you need before you believe it? The people during Jesus’ time were no different than we are. They didn’t just believe an empty tomb meant Jesus was alive again. They had just heard about the men who had walked all the way to Emmaus with Jesus and then recognized him only when he broke bread with him and then he disappeared. They were trying to figure out what was going on and then Jesus shows up! Talking to them. He offered for them to see his hands and feet and to eat something with them to prove he wasn’t a ghost – this new resurrected body was different but wasn’t a ghost. He offered to show them, be with them in their confusion and help them. Then asked them to be witnesses.
Do you know what a witness is? A witness is someone who shares their story, tells people what they understand or saw. We are witnesses when we tell about how God and church affect us. When we share where we see God working in our God sightings, or when we give our thanksgivings, we are witnesses. When we tell others about God, we are witnesses, or tell them about church we are witnesses. So, this week can you tell someone something that you have learned about God or experienced with God?
Reflection: “Can I see a witness?”
I went on the walk to Emmaus the spring before Abi was born. I remember what an amazing experience it was for me and experiencing Jesus walking with me during that walk. I could for the first time really understand how those men could walk for hours and not recognize the man they had walked with until just the right moment and then have their eyes opened. I had been walking with Jesus for years and yet in my pain, grief and fear of loosing our first child and finding out I was carrying Abi I was frozen. Not feeling Jesus right there with me until that walk and those women surrounding me in prayer and presence did I really let go of my fear and feel the Holy Spirit healing parts of me I didn’t realize needed to be healed before we welcomed this new and incredible little girl that would become my Abi into the world as well as confirm my call into ministry.
This is witness. When Jesus shows up to the disciples (men and women) after they have arrived back together, they are trying to figure what is Jesus. They know who he is, but he disappears and reappears, they can recognize him and yet they can’t always immediately. They are scared and yet full of hope. He is the same and yet different – this is what we know from scripture about resurrection. So Jesus meets them in the middle of their fear, in the middle of their doubt and turmoil. He eats with them proving he is not a ghost and shows them who he is and where his scars are, and yet they don’t define him any longer because he is more than that. Isn’t that what we all pray to be one day? More than our scars
He tells them that “a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” That isn’t a command just for them, but for us too. When we experience a change of heart and life, when our separation from God is repented from and changed and our relationship is renewed, we are to share that transformation, we are to witness to it. Those are the moments that change who we are and how we function in the world and we live our lives differently.
We witness in the way we live our lives as well as the words we say – sometimes the way we live is the stronger witness than any words we say. How we tell our stories and who we give the glory of our accomplishments is a witness. How we understand God working in our lives and how we share that is our witness. Sometimes our witness is in words, sometimes it is in actions. It doesn’t have to be the same for everyone.
Many you think it is easy for me to say – I am the pastor. But there are so many folks in our congregations who live out their witnesses every day.
Nete does it in words. When you go to visit her she will tell you about how blessed she is in her life and with her beautiful family and loving children. Where God has shown up. It is amazing to sit with this lady for just a few minutes and hear God in her life.
Judy Franklin tends to live it out in action. For the last year she has been working on designing just the right bib for Trey and several other special needs folks. Not because anyone asked her, but because she God placed it on her heart. It makes all the difference in the world to the folks she effects. She used her skills to make masks at the beginning of this whole thing when people needed them and couldn’t get them and had me hand them out. She also makes sure that after a dinner folks who need it get dinners – that no body ends up going without. This is witness in action of where God has shown up for her in her life through folks and at just the right time.
Jennie has shared with the conference the transforming power of camp on her life and has a passion for children’s ministry because it saved her life. She knew Jesus loved her when she was going through a tough time. Since those early days she has seen Jesus show up again and again and transform her life. She shares the stories, and she helps others get to know Jesus through ABC club, camp and retreat ministries, preaching, volunteering and connecting with folks at church so everyone remembers that Jesus loves them. In the middle of the mess and feeling alone of a pandemic no one has to feel completely alone.
Sue Richmond is a woman on the move. If you ever try to get a hold of her I have learned don’t even bother with the house phone unless my finger accidently slips. Call the cell! Sue has taken on Spartan’s Closet and the rummage sales since before I can remember as well as being an ambassador to folks to check on them and visit. She is one of the folks I call on to help me do visits so we get everyone covered and stay connected. Sue lives out her witness of what God has done in her life and how she knows God by helping other folks know that they aren’t alone and don’t need to feel disconnected from God. She sees God walking in her life and wants to help others see it too.
John Mantle has worked for a long time to help folks know Jesus through his actions and once you get to know him his words and stories. He coordinates with the camp to run a camp so that folks can get their houses rehabbed. This is no small task and means the world to them. Why? Because of Jesus. Because Jesus said to house the poor and John takes it literally and has the skills and helps the youth to learn them. He beams when he talks about the kids learning new skills and how they have grown, and also what they are learning and how he saw God working and transforming lives. You should ask him to tell you about those stories. They are awesome.
Val decided that the front lawn needed an overhaul after the trees came out and recruited a group to do it. She also tends to pick up folks and mentor them all over the place. I have met several. God has shown up in her life through her grandpa and the folks mentoring her and she has taken it on as one of her missions to pass it along. I have witnessed it with my Abi and a few stories this past week that had me laughing!