During these Easter days, the lectionary offers stories of Jesus’ followers after His resurrection. In the Acts of the Apostles, we hear about apostles who gave witness. I have reflected on this word after a conversation with a friend who saw a shooting on Chicago’s South Side where she is in ministry.
A “witness” is one who courageously speaks spiritual truth. A “witness” – in the legal sense – is someone who sees a crime happen and gives testimony. After hearing my friend describe her experience, and as I reflect on my own ministry with immigrants, I wonder if these definitions of “witness” aren’t mutually exclusive.
If we seek to be in authentic relationship and accompany those on the margins, we will hear personal accounts of violence, or we may even see acts of violence with our own eyes. With our feet firmly planted on the ground of this real-world injustice, we aspire – like the early Jesus-followers – speak truth and hope. The Good News of the Resurrection only matters in the context of such injustice. We seek to have eyes open to the ways that those on the margins are hurt by personal or systemic forces and to speak into that reality the promise of new life.
How do you witness to Gospel hope even (or especially) in the face of injustice and violence?