I love our weekly worship at St. Luke, especially, the time when we share our joys during “The Prayers of the People” where many of us share how God has been working in their lives. Really, each person’s sharing of their particular joy, whether a birthday, an anniversary, a celebration of a birth, or gratitude for a beautiful day, is a witness to all gathered of the goodness and faithfulness of God. I feel very connected to God and to our community of faith when I hear of an answered prayer that brings joy to the sharer and all who are there to witness that joy. Truly, we serve a risen Savior. God is good all the time!
John 3:16 is a famous verse that all, or certainly, most Christians know and have heard. It is probably the most memorized verse of children and adults, second only to “Jesus wept” from John 11:35. It is what comes before John 3:16 I want to reflect on for a moment.
Jesus is talking with Nicodemus about being born again, not by water, but by the spirit. Nicodemus is a leader of the Jews, so he’s a smart fellow concerning “church” things of his faith. Yet, he does not see how to believe beyond himself. I’m like that at times. I think that I am the one that controls everything around me. You’ve heard the phrase, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” I guess that’s partly true, but actually, God is with us in all we do. God’s grace goes before us to provide a way. The problem I have is not following the path in God’s will. I’m too caught up in the human part of birth, and I lose sight, or have no vision, of the spirit that is leading me. Jesus compares the spirit to the wind– “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). We believe in the wind, even though we cannot see it. BUT, we can see and believe in the effects of the wind.
When our people share their joys on Sunday mornings, I get confirmation that God is working in the world. I do not have to see Jesus nor the Spirit to believe in the effects of God’s power among us. I have the witness of Christians in our Sanctuary on Sunday mornings for that. Each person’s witness to the work of God in their life is a JOY, and it’s a confirmation that God is alive and working among us through the Spirit in the world. Jesus did not come to die in vain, but to give us hope and show us the way. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Do you believe?
Can I get a witness?