Our worship service today on testimony concludes our 6 Sunday series on practices that unify us as a congregation. Perhaps you are a bit puzzled by this topic, thinking that we don’t do testimony here at Berkey. Testimony certainly is a word or concept from an earlier era in church life, and was and is perhaps more prevalent in other traditions and places than the North American Mennonite Church. As a word, it comes with a certain amount of baggage: testimonies in some settings were used as litmus tests for whether one was truly saved; and in other settings were looked upon with skepticism because it is easy to use all the right words and say the right things about a personal faith, but it is a whole other thing to live it. (Ryan Siemens, “Are we ready for the return of testimony?” in Vision, Fall 2009, p. 51) Mennonites in North America have also been much better at putting our faith into action, rather than words. But Mennonites also believe that words and deeds need to match; that what we say we believe and how we live are to be consistent. We are supposed to testify to our belief in Christ through word and deed. (Lois Barrett, “Testimony in Anabaptist-Mennonite Theology and Practice, Vision, Fall 2009, p. 74)
Regardless of what name we give it, testimony happens here at Berkey every Sunday. We call it sharing time. And during special worship series, we’ve also had people share about their lives in relation to the theme of the particular series. We haven’t called it testimony; we’ve usually called it personal stories, or personal sharing, or stories of faith. But it is testimony; it is speaking about our faith and our lives, our joys and our struggles, and how they all connect to our sense of God’s presence. Our regular and dearly held practice of congregational sharing is our regular practice of testimony, of offering to the community and to God the stuff of our daily lives and our faith.
- Acts 3:1 - 10
- Acts 4:5 - 7
- Acts 4:13 - 22