Well, we all seem to agree that witnessing is something every Christian should do. Now we come to the important question Nancy raised, which I call YBH–Yes, but how? I’m going to start with a quote I like from Dorothy Day. In case you don’t know who she was, Dorothy, after living a completely unchristian life for many years, converted to Catholicism and founded a number of hospitality houses (rescue missions) where she tried to live and work in a very simple way, not owning much more than her “guests.”
“Works of mercy are feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, ransoming the prisoner, and burying the dead. The spiritual works of mercy are instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, rebuking the sinner, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving all injuries and praying for the living and the dead. Works of mercy are the most direct form of(I would add here apostolic) action there is.
from Loaves and Fishes by Dorothy Day
When we imitate Christ by doing His work on earth, things like the ones Dorothy lists, we are most truly his witnesses. Of course, it is also important that the folks we are witnessing to know who (or maybe I should say whose) we are. That comes from building an ongoing relationship with them. (probably a topic for another post).
Going back to Nancy’s comment citing St. Francis of Assisi, I recently read a story about him in the Max Lucado Study Bible. It is said he once asked a young monk to go with him to a nearby village to preach. They arrived and St. Francis began to visit people: the butcher, the cobbler, the teacher, a new widow. This went on all morning until Francis told his follower, “It’s time to return to the abbey.” “But we came to preach” protested the young man, “and we haven’t preached a sermon.” “Haven’t we?” responded Francis. “People have watched us, listened to us, responded to us. Every word we have spoken, every deed we have done has been a sermon. We have preached all morning.”
So what do you think readers and Lutheran Ladies? Do we witness through our actions? How do you witness? I want to hear your stories.