Tell Your Story, May 16.2012

1 John 5: 9-10a (CEB) 
If we receive human testimony, God’s testimony is greater, because this is what God testified: God has testified about God’s Son.
The one who believes in God’s Son has the testimony within.
The author (often referred to as the Elder) who writes 1 John is addressing a community of believers or Christ followers. Much like those of us in churches today his community of believers did not all believe the same things about Jesus or agree on what we would call theology or doctrine. That is to say, they had a variety of words and understandings of how God worked in the world and what the role of the Holy Spirit or Jesus was. There was some confusion and dissension. Sound familiar?

The Elder writes to them, imploring them, hoping to remind them of the story of who Jesus is. In the verses before this one he refers to the waters of Jesus’ baptism, to the pronouncement of the Holy Spirit, to the suffering he endured on the cross and finally here he names God the creator as the greatest one testifying to who Jesus is. The author of 1 John also reminds his readers to listen to their own hearts, that they have the testimony of who Jesus is inside them, written on their hearts.

Testimony is a word made complicated by the centuries. When I hear it I think of courtrooms and witness stands (which may be a sign that I’m watching too much TV drama) or I think of sidewalk proselytizers who might as well be yelling into an empty abyss for all the attention they get from the crowds that pass them by without a backwards glance. But what does testimony look like in our communities of believers in this time and place? What are the words and stories about Jesus that are written on your hearts? Last week we were invited in the Gospel of John to abide in God. If our lives our grounded in God, if they are nourished and supported and bound up like branches to the vine of God then where and how do the stories of God turn up in our lives? In our stories?

When you find yourself telling someone a story about your life today, ask yourself, and where is God in this story?

Our everyday stories are our testimonies about the living, breathing, challenging and comforting Christ in our lives. They do not have to be cut and dried and obvious, in fact most of the time they aren’t. They don’t have to end with a moral or be tied up with a perfect and then we all lived happily ever after ending because we don’t often know how our stories are going to end. They just need to be true. God is with us in the trenches of the ins and outs of all of our days and the stories that we tell about the silly and mundane, the heartbreak and humiliations, the tenderness and forgetfulness of our days are our honest-to-goodness God stories.

So go on, go ahead and tell your stories,
May God’s presence be revealed in each one of them,
May you see God revealed in the stories of another,
May these stories hold and sustain you and
May they testify to the truth that God is with you.