Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

MINISTRY OF WITNESSING
Acts 8:26-35
He replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. (Acts 8:31)
What is the imperative of witnessing? Definitely, it is the question of somebody around us, (most often which is unheard) 'how can I, unless someone guides me?' Really, there are many people in the need of some guidelines, encouragement, enrichment and orientation in their life. Through the ministry of witnessing we are taking the responsibility of orienting and inviting others to Christ and Christian fellowship. We see that, after the martyrdom of Stephen the disciples were scattered and went from place to place but they witnessed Christ there (v.8:4).The disciples were in a journey of witnessing Christ, tirelessly. They were engaging in the ministry of witnessing at every moment through every act in their life. The text of today challenges us to do meaningful witness in a multicultural situation.
Co-journeying with the Other:Witnessing is, fundamentally a question of relationship with the other. Here we see that Philip is being driven by the angel towards an alien, Eunuch who is totally an 'other' to Philip. Ethiopian Eunuch is a representative of an ethnically, nationally, culturally and gender alien identity. Philip was guided by the Spirit to 'go over to the chariot and join it'. It was a command to initiate a co-journey with the other/alien. Philip walked along with the chariot so that he could listen the inner search of the Eunuch. We need to initiate a co-journey with the other so that we can listen the sigh and search of the other. Co-journey is a costly affair.
Conversing with the Other: Co-journey leads into meaningful conversations. In the text we see a meaningful conversation between the Eunuch and Philip. It was not a dialogue between Philip and Eunuch rather a conversation of both of them with the scripture. The scripture guided them in their search for the truth. Conversations with the 'other' in the light of word of God will elevate the relationship to a position of mutuality. Conversations are the ways by which we personalizing the faith. And they are the ways by which we witness our personalized faith.
Co-sacramentality: Meaningful co-journey and conversation will enable one to enter into a sacramental relationship with God and others. Sacraments are the times of celebrating the faith. The Ethiopian Eunuch receives baptism as the mark of his faith affirmation (v.36, 37).The person gets elevated into a next level of sacramental communion. It is the mark of communion with God. Every witnessing act should reach towards the sublime point of Confession, communion, and sacramentality, like this. The relationship enriched by the sacramental relation with God and the other definitely will be meaningful and fruitful. They (Philip and Eunuch) continued their journey in different paths, but witnessing Christ in their own contexts. Every witness should create another witness. That is our ministry.
Prayer:
Lord, give us the courage to co-travel with the 'others' and give us the strength to bear the cost for it. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Every journey is a new lesson of God’s grace,

Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church