Bearing Witness

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise. (Psalm 51:13-15)

We've been looking through King David’s great psalm of repentance, and we are now nearing the end. In these three verses we find David making an interesting argument. If he is forgiven, then he will be in a position to bear witness to the mercy of God. David’s forgiveness would, in the end, bring glory to God.

This idea of bearing witness is an important one in the Christian faith. Whilst not everyone is called to be an expert in high doctrine, or preach week in and week out, we are all called to bear witness to our own experience of God. We can speak about what we know - like a witness in a legal court - and others will then see the truth in what we say.

Many people are, I know, anxious about talking to people about their faith as they fear they will not have all the answers. The point is that you don’t need all the answers in order to simply say why Christianity is important to you. You can just talk about your experiences.

Perhaps that is daunting! Well, if so you might start by just asking yourself some questions: why do you go to church; why do you pray; why are you reading this email?! You might even pray before you ask yourself this question, asking that God will help you with the answers. If you can do that, you will find that it is easier to talk to people when the question of Christianity comes up.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)

David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals. The list of those who did the work and of their duties was… (1 Chronicles 25:1) - Amongst the many books in his library is an edition of the Bible which contains his own handwritten annotations, and one of these can be found alongside 1 Chronicles 25, a chapter which describes King David organising the musicians. Bach wrote: “NB, This chapter is the true foundation for all church music that is pleasing to God.”

True Worship

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar. (Psalm 51:16-19) - There remains a danger that worship can become mechanical. We say the right words, turn up at the right time and go home again. We run on auto-pilot, and the all too familiar words simply wash over us.

  1. Blog
  2. The Rectory Bulletin
  3. 2020
  4. October
  5. Bearing Witness