Saturday, March 13, 2004
Testimonies I have heard innumerable testimonies in which people speak of Jesus coming into their lives — how Christ become part of their individual stories. However, the more I have thought about it, this is the wrong angle of approach. We should be speaking more about how we become part of God's story in Christ, how we entered into His life. If such an approach was taken the Church would become absolutely central to our testimonies, because the Church is the place where we are drawn into God's story in Christ. When we spoke of our salvation we would be speaking about the life that we have been made part of in the Church. When we spoke of the definitive aspect of our salvation we would be thinking more in terms of Baptism than in terms of our first sense of personal faith. The life of the Church, expressed particularly in Baptism and the Lord's Supper, is the reality to which our faith runs. It is in the Church that we become participants of the life and faith of Christ and members of His body. In Baptism we are baptized into Christ's death; in the Supper we are assimilated into His body. Salvation cannot be separated from ministry; to be saved is to be made a minister in Christ's body. Salvation makes us extrospective people — members of each other. To the degree that our testimonies are merely introspective individual biographies they are not true testimonies to salvation, for salvation is precisely that which saves the individual from the tyranny of his own story by making him part of the great story of God in Christ. Only as part of this larger story can we tell our own personal (as opposed to individual) stories as stories of forgiveness, liberation, justification and sanctification. Do take the time to read Tim's latest sermon.