This week in Adult Forum, we began to talk about evangelism – each of us confessing, in our small, cramped education room, that we are not as comfortable as we feel we “should” be with the idea of sharing our faith – myself included.
What is it about evangelism that is so scary?
For many of the parishioners I hear from, and for myself, sometimes it is fear of being “one of THOSE christians”. I am scared of sharing words which feel threatening, or empty. I DO want to share the good news, and want to talk about the relationship I have with Jesus which has transformed my life – but I sometimes don’t exactly know how to enter that conversation – or, more specifically, how to come to it with an open heart.
I realised, as we talked about it on Sunday, that part of what I find so scary and so threatening is that being an evangelist means being vulnerable. It means opening up a part of myself which is sweet, and tender, and so close to my heart. And, not knowing how that open-ness will be treated, or received.
This Saturday, I went to my friend, Chris’s ordination service. He was ordained in the same class of deacons, and he asked my help in his service. I was a little early to the church, and hadn’t had time to get him a lei – so I thought I would go over to the Foodland which is close, and pick one up.
On the way out the door, I saw someone walking in – a man who was decked out in Christmas gear, with a christmas-tree hat. He caught my eye, and said, directly, “Merry Christmas!” I said it back, and walked to my car smiling.
He’s stayed with me – this man, whose mission it was to spread Christmas cheer that day. He was open, and vulnerable, and in some ways he was wearing his heart on his sleeve. And, it softened me. I saw this guy, being so authentically himself, and it made me smile.
So, as I was thinking about evangelism, and being vulnerable, I thought about him – I thought about how, when you actually ARE vulnerable, and open to the world, not knowing the response – sometimes, the response can be joy. Sometimes, you can influence a conversation you’re not even part of.
I am being challenged this week, and every week, to wear my heart on my sleeve – to be visible and open about the Love I have received, and the Love I’d like to share.