Witness or Testify?

John 1:6-8, 19-28

REPENT! I see the sign and I want to run in the other direction. I know what message this person wants to deliver and it is not one that testifies to the light... or at least that's the way I feel. So what does testify to the light? Do we dare to go about doing it or do we picture the sign above and shy away from our own story of the light?

Shannon's story is powerful. As she introduced herself the words tumble out in nervousness because she has dared to offer up something sacred. It goes something like this:  I don't remember when I was first sexually abused by my grandfather. It seemed like it always was, so I guess it was from the time I was a baby. By the time I was 12 my mother sold me for drugs to her drug dealer and that was my start on the road to drug addiction and prostitution.

As you hear the story all of the things you assume about a prostitute and their life falls away. What choice do you actually have when you are force fed drugs and then forced to have sex at 12? Yet in Shannon's story you can hear her witness to the light. Love heals is the slogan for Magdalene/Thistle Farms in Nashville. Every day the women come together in a circle with a candle and tell parts of their story and end with "love heals".

It is a story of turning their lives around and they have fought for this through the hard work of telling their story. Through risking to be honest about what they have experienced and trusting that love will heal them. Real true love. It testifies to the light.

Come over then to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu's forgiveness challenge website. Where you will see stories of forgiveness and healing. A mother who forgives the drunk driver that killed her daughter. How this has developed into a friendship of care for this young man. How it has changed his life completely to have been forgiven a wrong so deep. This is not the only story there either.

Truly testifying to the light in our lives means risking ourselves. We become vulnerable when we tell our story of where the light has touched our lives. We also become honest about ourselves and where we stand in relation to the light in our lives. It means opening ourselves to the stories of freedom to the captives, and release to the prisoner, and restoration of sight to the blind.

Do we dare to become witnesses of that light? Do we dare risk ourselves in the process? Can we become the agents who point to life and love in the world and become the agents of true change in our communities? I think its better than the sign of knowing even though we jump into the unknown. It is more risky than being a noise no one wants to hear.