Written by Daniel Hazard
Excerpt from Acts 4:13–21
"So they called them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, 'Whether it is right in God's sight to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge; for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard.'"
Reflection by Lillian Daniel
I have long found it ironic that the same UCC members who vote on gay marriage, propose solutions to conflict in the Middle East and take up other controversial issues are unwilling to talk to others about their personal experience of God - and here's the irony - lest they offend someone.
We come by our silence for noble reasons of course. We don't want to "shove our religion down people's throats," or to imply that our way is the only way to heaven. But trust me, folks, you can talk about your faith with joy and love, and without judging others.
n the UCC, for too long we have thought of faith-sharing as something that "those other Christians do." And other Christians do share their faith. It's one reason why conservative and fundamentalist churches grow. Their members feel energized, even compelled, to share their faith and invite their neighbor to church. We in the UCC are more likely to tell our neighbor how to vote than to invite them to church.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Having written a book about reclaiming the practice of testimony, I get to lead workshops on this subject all over the country, and I am sensing a movement of the Holy Spirit. Progressive, inclusive, justice-seeking churches are learning that we need to share our faith, too. The world needs to hear about our churches - and so may your neighbor.
Peter and John could not keep quiet about their faith. Dear God, help me to talk about mine. Today I pray for the person who is looking for a church just like mine, and for the courage to tell them about it. Amen.
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