Several years ago, I dreamed about being a member of the crew on board a luxury cruise liner. From my post, I could observe the passengers through the ornate glass doorways as they danced and ate to their hearts content.
Something, however, seemed strangely amiss. The talk circulating among the crew was about radio messages warning of possible icebergs. “The ship was moving dangerously fast,” one crew member remarked. The captain, partying with the passengers, wasn’t concerned. Disaster loomed, but what could I do? I was just a member of the crew? The dream ended with a sign over the bridge naming the ship — “Titanic.”
Imagine this: You are coming to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. Passover is a joyful event but nobody seems to be having any fun! A prophet named Jesus triumphantly entered town a few days ago but how quickly circumstances change: accusations of treason, a trial, a brutal beating followed by crucifixion.
Everyone is in a foul mood. Rumors abound that Jesus body was stolen. Others claim to have seen Christ alive. The debate is hot and intense. Is Jesus the Messiah? What do you say? What do you do? Who can you believe?
Fast forward to a more modern nightmare: Threats of terrorism and unrest at an all-time high. Drug and alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, teenage suicides and violence of every kind swirl around us. Morality and ethics discarded in pursuit of success and pleasure.
Three tragic dramas: Are we meant to watch helplessly or is there another option?
Paul laid out our responsibilities very clearly in a letter to Timothy, “I solemnly urge you: Preach the word of God. Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” (2 Tim. 4:1-2)
- Don’t watch the Titanic go down. Help someone to a lifeboat. Comfort the frightened. Be a witness to the fact that God is with us even in tragedy.
- Watch Jesus’ disciples as they enthusiastically tell the crowds, “Jesus is alive!” Choose to publicly and deliberately join them as a witness to the Good News.
- Don’t complain about our modern day situation. Become a witness to our society that clearly says, “Christ is alive and offers another way to live!”
Before Holy Week and Easter fade into history remember this: God never asked us to be spectators. We are called to preach, be persistent, be willing to gently correct if necessary and most of all encourage others with good teaching.
Take a moment to think and pray. Take out a piece of paper and write down ways to improve your witness within the community. Are there organizations or projects where you can volunteer? Is there a neighbor who could use a kind word or thoughtful deed? Do you know a teenager in need of comfort?
Your willingness to be a witness may not save the “Titanic” but with God’s guidance you could help someone to a lifeboat.
Your willingness to be a witness may not stop Jesus’ death but you could be a witness to the resurrection.
Your willingness to be a witness may not change our current reality but you could help someone find a lifeline in the midst of the storm.
Spectators are for dreams and movies. Christ called you and me to be a witness. Make your choice today.