Our pastor pointed out this week that the shepherds….considered “low lifes” in the culture of their day…..were the first beyond Jesus’ family to hear the news of the newborn Messiah. They hurried and found him lying in the manger. It is notable in Scripture, too, that women, a culturally repressed and disempowered group, were the first to receive the news of Christ’s resurrection. With each of these events, they ran to tell others. The Samaritan woman at the well, another person of apparently low community standing for still other reasons, when she came to the realization of who it was that was offering her something more life-giving and precious than H2O, ran to tell the townfolks. The final instructions to followers in each of the Gospels includes a directive to “Go and tell.” When the news is as exciting as that of Jesus Christ’s presence in our midst, it should be shouted from the rooftops and from street corners and in the market square. How are we proclaiming Christ’s presence with us….are we telling others…..today?
In a recent conversation, the topic of “evangelism” came up in the context of someone preparing for a mission trip overseas. A child listening in misunderstood what was said and asked, ” you’re going to do vandalism??” We laughed. But it’s almost gotten to the point that to mention Christ’s name is considered an act of violence in our culture by many….tantamount to hate speech, bigotry, and intolerance. Will we have the courage of our faith? Will we retain the excitement of the Gospel and the boldness to tell others? Even as the Apostles did when arrested and told to be quiet about Jesus? They went right out the door and began proclaiming the Good News again!