Bearing Witness

“You will be Christ’s witnesses for all people for what you have seen and heard.” Acts 22:15

Dear people of St. David’s,

I pray you and yours are well and that you are finding wonderful ways to enjoy these long summer days. I know it’s been hot and wet, but the early dawns and late sunsets have been magnificent.

Amy and I got to travel to England and Scotland in the first week in July, where the sun comes up even earlier and goes down even later in the summer. We were staying with friends who have been working in London for the past six years. We finally had the opportunity to go there, spend time with them, and act like tourists. Some of the highlights included a day at Wimbledon; Bruce Springsteen at Hyde Park; high tea one rainy afternoon near Buckingham Palace; and lots of walking, museums, and churches. It was a wonderful week, but the high point for me was an opportunity to be witnesses to the grace and love of God we’re all coming to know in this Christian life.

While walking through Westminster Abbey, we admired the incredible beauty of the space: the statues and simple floor stones with the names of the many famous people buried there. Amy had noticed they were getting ready to start their midday communion service and asked if I wanted to join. I said yes, and we congregated with roughly seventy people in the middle of the church for the service of Holy Communion.

There was no music or sermon, but we heard the readings for the day. We said prayers, confessed, passed the peace, and shared communion with others from all over the world while throngs of people toured all around us. I began noticing the people looking at us. Many knew exactly what we were doing and some probably had no idea what was going on, even though we were in a church. It made me smile inside to realize that in the simple act of worship, we were bearing witness to others about Christ’s love and grace in our lives.

It made me smile and tear up at the same time as I considered all the little ways you and I bear witness to our faith in our daily lives: by coming to church, inviting someone to come with us, saying grace at a restaurant, acting kindly toward a stranger, or helping someone find their way. Part of the grace in bearing witness in all these little everyday moments is that it opens a way for God to come into the lives of other people by the way we’re living our lives.

As you go about living into these long summer days, please remember we have been called to bear witness to God who loves us and has called us to love others; to open a way for God to come into their lives. Use words if someone invites you and asks you about your faith, but ordinary graciousness, kindness, mercy, and love are all we need as Christ’s witnesses in the world to open a way for God to come in.

Grace and Peace,

The Rev. W. Frank Allen