Sunday, April 22, 2012

On Being Jesus' Witnesses

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,  and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,  and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  --Luke 24:45-48

These verses were part of a larger chunk of verses we were discussing in a Bible study one day, and we started talking and wondering about how we are witnesses for Jesus today.  One lady said her young granddaughter (I get the impression she was around 5 or so; I could be wrong) told the neighbors "we don't mow our lawn on Sunday; we go to church" and the neighbor never did it again.

While I understand the pride in the granddaughter knowing that Jesus and church is important, I also wonder how that is being a witness to Jesus' resurrection.  Really, it is more of a witness to a cultural tradition.  Were there ever any follow-up conversations with the neighbor about why they go to church on Sunday and don't mow lawns?  Was there ever any discussion about Jesus' resurrection?  Were there conversations about what the neighbor believed?  If none of these things occurred, if the only thing that changed was the neighbor stopped mowing the lawn on Sunday, was it an effective witness?  Granted, maybe it didn't necessarily have to be more than that; maybe that child was just "planting a seed" that would be followed up in ways we will never know about.

I do wonder what the Lawnmower Person thought after that.  Did the Lawnmower Person roll his/her eyes and stop mowing on Sundays in order to not deal with the taboo?  Or did the Lawnmower Person think "maybe there is something to this.  I want to know more."  I doubt we will ever know.

I love the idea of a day of rest, of not having events planned and just staying home and doing nothing, and I know that the emphasis on not working on Sunday is a well-meaning one, that they believe they are not working on the Sabbath.  But it isn't the Biblical sabbath, and Christians are not required to keep the Biblical Sabbath, anyway--but more on that another time.

And maybe mowing one's lawn isn't work for some people.  Maybe they enjoy taking care of the yard and it is restful to them.  Maybe they enjoy creating a nice space in which to play, have cookouts, and enjoy the outdoors.  Maybe the yard work is their sanctuary from a week filled with working at a job that is greatly disliked.

So let's assume Lawnmower Person is not a Christian.  What if someone from the Evangelizing Household, instead of saying "we don't mow our lawns on Sunday", said "hey, can I help you with that, and, after we're done, would you like to join us for lunch?"  Wouldn't that make a better impression, be more welcoming, and be more like Jesus than saying "we don't mow our lawns on Sunday"?

What long-held traditions do you cling to?  Do you seek to understand why others do not follow them, or do you assume your traditions are the best or only way to do things?

1 comment:

Drew said...

I wonder what would happen if Lawnmower Person said "Sunday is the only day I have to mow the lawn. If I don't do it then, pretty soon the grass will be 6 foot high and the neighbours will be complaining"? Would that make a difference to the "We don't mow on a Sunday" brigade, I wonder?