You Shall be my Witnesses Among Yourselves
Look how Jesus instructed his first disciples to behave before he left them. He told them to get ready to become world travellers. “Go into all of the world,” he said, but start first in Jerusalem. In other words, start among yourselves, before you move out to Samaria and ultimately, go to the uttermost parts of the earth.
It was a three part sending. Go to the people you know, then go to the people you don’t particularly get on with, then go to the people you don’t know.
The church was never intended to be a small insular belonging to one tribe and one nation. Its very DNA is that of a movement rather than a monument. Sending, serving and sharing is at the heart of the gospel.
But first they were instructed to stay together, to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. As they waited no doubt they shared stories. Conversations would begin with “Do you remember the time when…?” and out would flow the story of the healing of the ten lepers, or the story of Peter’s mother-in-law being healed, or how they misunderstood so many of the things he had told them. The recalling among themselves was the strengthening of their collective memory and their expectation of things to come.
As pentecost approaches it would surely be energising for us all to encourage each other, to gather together and retell the stories of faith that have built our communities of faith today.