August 2, 2017: Sharing Our Faith — Part 1
Many of us feel anxious about sharing our faith with another person. Perhaps we are nervous that we will be drawn into waters that we can’t navigate and that we and the person we are talking to will “drown”! The missiologist Michael Frost invites us to envision a more empowering perspective from which we might share God’s love and mercy with more freedom and confidence.
He asks us to imagine that we are in a blackened and darkened room with a single window in the corner — not unlike how we might find a room after fire and smoke damage have swept through a building. The single window is encrusted with grime and allows no light to penetrate. We know that right outside this room is breaking the most beautiful, sublime sunrise that we have ever seen. What of this glorious sunrise would anyone be able to perceive in that darkened room? Perhaps it would be just the faintest amber glow coming through the soot-coated window. Now imagine that in the dark of the room our eyes begin to make out the figure of another person, huddled in the corner, sitting on the floor with head in hands and knees drawn to his chest.
So, what is our task? Our task is to help the person inside that light-less room see the sunrise. We cannot do anything to make the sunrise anymore sublime or glorious, neither can we make the sun rise! Thankfully, our job is to do neither of these tasks. Our job is altogether much simpler, although it does require a little humility and a servant’s heart.
Our vocation is to take a rag and begin to clean the window. Maybe the grime is so hard-baked that all we can manage on that day is to unveil a quarter inch of clear glass. And yet even a quarter inch of clear glass is enough for the person in the corner to press his face to the window and begin to see with his own eyes the spectacle of the sunrise.
Our job was never to make the sun rise, but to clean the windows so that people can see it more and more. As we clean windows, we reveal His presence and His reign.
We are the sent ones. We are familiar with the Great Commission in Matthew’s Gospel in which Jesus says “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). There is a Great Commission in John’s Gospel too: “Just as the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21). As followers of Christ, we are called to play our part in bringing others toward the light. We are being sent out to clean windows, confident in the sublime sunrise of the sovereignty of God’s love.
In the mercy of Jesus, the words that were first spoken by Zechariah over his infant son are now ours: “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1: 76-79). We can go out with confidence in the reign of God and clean windows for those who have yet to see.
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