Grace Notes 2022-11-02
It has been said the evangelism is relational. And that is a very helpful insight and true to the very nature of spreading the good news of God in Christ Jesus. The result of the Word of the Gospel taking hold in a person’s life is being joined to Jesus, adoption as God’s child, and becoming a part of the family of God. This is all relational!
I want to be careful not to knock other attempts of bearing witness to Jesus, but I certainly don’t want to hold up as ideal the model of trying to do so on the spur of the moment with complete strangers. Sometimes such evangelizing mimics the high-pressure salesperson. This turns off a lot of people. It is a technique more interested in chalking up the sale, than in the wellbeing of the person.
Being intentional in relationships already established is a good place to begin in being a witness. And as we encounter strangers, getting acquainted and building a relationship first will go a long way in more effective evangelism. We are not selling something! We are hoping to be able to share with others what we have experienced in Jesus as He comes to us. But commensurate with this is showing genuine love, compassion, friendship, and good cheer with others. That, in a sense, is sharing with them that which we have received. By taking a genuine interest in others, we are already giving witness to the Gospel.
I am taken aback by the example of Jesus’ encounter with strangers. Take for example the encounter of Jesus with a woman at midday and at a community well in John 4. He starts the conversation by asking a favor of her, “Give me a drink.” He asks her lots of questions. And gradually he turns the conversation from material thirst to spiritual thirst. He does not give a canned speech. He finds points of contact as he takes a genuine interest in the woman. We can learn from the Master!
Since You Asked…
What is the purpose of the Psalm Reading? And why do we often sing (chant) the Psalm? “The appointed psalm is sung as a meditation on the First Lesson, a response to it, and a bridge to the Second Lesson. … Hearers of the lessons need a chance to assimilate the First Lesson before the Second Lesson begins. The required use of a psalm between the lessons provides for the restoration of psalm singing to its traditional place in the life of the church and gives the worshiper the opportunity to participate in the singing (or reading) of a portion of Scripture…” (from “Manual on the Liturgy” companion to the LBW, from Augsburg Pub.)
Chanting can be thought of as “exalted speech”. It sets the speech apart from regular speech and the slower cadence allows for reflection.