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03 August 2010

Is the Church Singing the Wrong Words? Part Seven

This "misheard lyric" isn't one that causes me too much heartburn, although I believe that it often has negative consequences.

Misheard lyric #7: will witness for me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Original lyric (Acts 1:8): will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth

If a friend told you about a trial they'd seen and commented that one of the people who saw the crime "witnessed to the jury," what would you think? You'd probably think that the guy who saw the crime was a Christian and, there on the stand, took the opportunity to tell the jury about Jesus.

In reality, your friend would probably never use that description. Your friend would call the person a witness, and would probably say that he testified to the jury. That person would be telling the jury what he'd witnessed.
Our misuse of the word "witness" is similar to our misuse of the word "church." The way we use "church" most often confines our understanding of Jesus Christ and His body to an event, a time, a place, or a business. Similarly, when we say we're going to go out and "witness," or that we "witnessed" to someone, we've relegated that part of our lives to an event or a time.

"Witness" is not what we do. It describes who we are.
Did we not experience a life-changing revolution first-hand? Are we not desperately thankful that God has seen fit to adopt us into His own family as heirs? Is there no joy or excitement that we have the privilege of personally knowing our Creator; of being given the chance to participate in what He is doing today? Is it not amazing to be a part of a community of people who love each other so much they'd give or do anything for the others?
If these things describe us, how can we contain ourselves? Isn't it logical that every moment of our lives would be seen as an opportunity to let other people in on this mind-boggling "secret"? Can we really confine that to a single day, or to a point in time at which we're required or obligated to tell people about it all?

We are, indeed, witnesses.


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