Coming to the end of Easter season now. Seven weeks of wondering about resurrection, the longshot that things don’t just come to an end for us or other people. The potential that this Chosen One, Jesus from Galilee, never found his end, and never will; that his story continues, he speaks from beyond the grave, he redeems and still calls out, “FOLLOW ME,” and so our story continues.
Very quickly it’s clear that this is a story for the telling, one that was immediately expanding and enveloping every kind of people on earth, everywhere, in every time. So Jesus said and urged. So his friends and followers believed, and started to bear witness to it by the leading of the very Spirit of God. And whoever the story touched, those who heard and believed, they became characters in it, each enhancing it in a way only he/she could. And so, in the Spirit they too bore the story with them, very much witnesses to the Resurrection.
That’s where we’ve been, watching the witness-story unfold and stretch-out and grow.
And wondering how we fit into it. How to take part in it.
Christian “witness” is treated every kind of way, from people with sandwich-boards and bullhorns (cf. Rob Bell) to those who leap at a chance to tell their “testimony”, to those who want to silently serve and let their behavior speak for itself.
But so far the beginning of the story told in the book of “Acts” seems clear on something: this story unfolds moment by unique moment, and having a powerful part in it comes from responding to the free-flowing, uncontrollable Spirit at work in and around us. The way I bear witness will adhere to no rules or guidelines, except that the story is God’s and the Spirit guides the way.
This week in Acts 16:16-34 in particular, Paul and Silas do what they do best – get thrown into prison. Why? Because of their part in the story, and the result is that prison becomes part of the story, and also what happens there. Welcome to following Jesus’ way. Who knows what’s coming, where should we go, what should we do, how do we do it? Ride the wave.
Overall, it kinda reminds me of these guys, really:
Surfers are good at waiting and being in tune, in rhythm. There are lulls but then there are also overwhelmingly powerful times, and they enter in unafraid. There’s no mistaking that it’s the wave’s power that fuels the ride, but it’s up to the surfer to pursue the big sets and cooperate in the moment. What about bearing witness to the Resurrection in the Spirit?