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The Gift of Bearing Witness

By Julie Cordodor

Begin with 2 minutes of Silence


Matthew 2:10-12- When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Devotional thoughts “...Compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there.” – Henri Nouwen

For most of my adult life I have been quick to turn from pain in the world that doesn’t affect myself or those I love; I often feel overwhelmed and helpless, and it is easier to look away and be grateful that other people are helping instead. During the last two years, though, God has been teaching me that if I want to truly love people, I must be willing to look at them especially when truly awful things are happening. I must be willing to stand and watch, though often on the sidelines, so that they know they are seen and not forgotten; I must bear witness. He has been training me to keep my eyes on people whose pain I would formerly look away from; to listen to their stories and to pray like I never have before. I still get anxious and feel desperate at the evil I see, but every time I bring those thoughts to God He answers with His promises: He is close to the brokenhearted, He is making all things new, He Himself is our peace and strength. Now I am able to follow promptings to give to these people because I have my eyes on them, God, and His promises, not on my own discomfort.

He is making all things new, He Himself is our peace and strength.

The Magi gave gifts of great value not out of fear or anxiety, but out of the worshipful witness of long-sought baby King. Learning to bear witness with people experiencing some of the worst pain our world can offer has ultimately led me to a worshipful witness of the Lord, and this witness is teaching me how to give not just money or time, but my whole self to Him and to those He loves.

Question for reflection Where is God calling me to “build my home,” as Nouwen would say; what suffering is God calling me to bear witness to that I may love people and Himself more truly?

Prayer Lord, please give me a heart that bears witness with those who experience great suffering and teach me how to help bear their burdens, knowing that You daily bear them as well. Thank You that You have overcome the world; we eagerly await Your return. Amen.

End with 2 minutes of Silence


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