Can I get a witness?

by susan on May 6, 2017

Nafis White is a sculpturist from Ferguson, Missouri. Her piece, “Can I Get A Witness?” (pictured to the right) was intended to bring attention, to inspire action and to illuminate injustice. It was created shortly after the murder of Michael Brown and wherever it is shown, it is accompanied by a growing list of names of people killed by police. The question “Can I Get A Witness?” is asking for a collective willingness to see and acknowledge the violence & mounting death toll that has gone unnoticed for too long.

This question (can I get a witness?) originated in the African-American Christian tradition. Often during church services, a member of the congregation would stand to give a testimony to how God had been moving in his or her life. After an experience or story was shared, the one sharing would ask, “Can I get a witness?” Someone would inevitably shout, “Amen!” (meaning yes!). The storyteller was asking do you see what I’m seeing? can you validate this truth?  The witness was saying “yes!”.

Witnesses stand up for truth. They validate the story. They individually or collectively say yes, I am with you. I see you.

It was witnesses like these that gave birth to the church. Like Jesus, they spoke truth to power, formed new community, included those formerly excluded and were present with people in life-giving ways. Sure, there were plenty of times where they fumbled and failed, but at their best, they dared to bear witness to Christ. Their lives were living proof of the kingdom of God. Their lives convinced others of the Jesus way. Their lives bore witness to his resurrection.

What would it look like for us to recover this kind of witness? How might this witness bring healing and new life, not just to some, but to everyone? How might it help to bring renewal and new life to a Church that sometimes seems broken beyond repair?

Join us for our Sunday gatherings this month as we explore these texts in the book of Acts that tell us the stories of these witnesses.

May 7: Acts 2:42-47  The Witness of New Community
May 14: Acts 6:7-7:2, 7:51-60  The Witness of Speaking Truth to Power
May 21: Acts 8:26-39  The Witness of Presence
May 28: Acts 15:1-18  The Witness of Inclusion

We gather at 10:30 at  the Third & Main Event Center (1303 N. Main St.) and everyone is welcome.

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