Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
REFORMATION: HERITAGE AND WITNESSING
Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.
The Book of Acts is an accurate historical record of the early church with lessons and living examples of the work of the Holy Spirit, the implications of grace and the law of love. The second half of Acts is focused primarily on Paul’s missionary journey to many countries north of Mediterranean Sea. Paul’s missionary adventure shows us the progress of Christianity. This gospel could not be confined to one corner of the world. This is a faith that offered hope to all humanity.
Renewal for a reforming community: While acknowledging the customs, traditions habits and practices stressed during the reformation period, it has become imperative to come up with new interpretations and texts fitting for the current socio- economic environment. The tenets of reformation were manifested through worship, word of God and witnessing. The church, being the covenantal community becomes the channel of grace and agent of change. We are bound to imbibe the spirit of renewal in the existential realms of life.
Paul’s message to the Jews in the synagogue in Antioch began with an emphasis on God’s covenant with Israel. He went on explaining how the gospel fulfilled the covenant. The chronological interpretation especially connected with the Old Testament brings us the covenantal relationship. Being the children of the faithful community founded by Abraham, we are expected to be his descendants in faith, practices, actions and response. This conviction leads us to become the agents of reformation. The covenantal relationship includes the wellbeing of all humankind.
Being a Christian witness: Jesus commanded the believers that they should be witnesses. Each of us can be an inspirer and encourager to others for witnessing Jesus Christ and His glory. Verse 32 states that “We tell you the good news: what God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.” So Paul called the men of Israel and the God –fearing gentiles as Brothers. Witnessing should not be carried out along with the lines of separation between Jews and Gentiles, slave and master, male and female. Church being the covenantal community is bound to be inclusive, penetrating and permeating the layers of society for meaningful witness.
The church is a called out community for the completion and fulfillment of the kingdom of God. The mission and ministry of the church are marked by its witnessing. Church is bound to be a community of unfading remembrances and reminiscences. Witnessing does not mean ignoring existing faith traditions and replacing it with a new one. While retaining the apostolic and eastern vision and traditions, the church should continue its originality in witnessing by listening to the viewpoints of modern society.
Prayer- Almighty lord, may our hearts be open to the light of Christ and enable us to be true witnesses. Amen
Rev. Varghese K Abraham, St. Mathew’s Mar Thoma Church, Toronto