in a sense the mystery of the church is directly related to its call to witness. In fact, the nature of the church, what it is in its inseparable union with the resurrected Lord, expresses itself in witnessing. Paul wrote, "His [God's] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" (Eph. 3:10).* Christ's revelation of the love and wisdom of God is still a reality in the church as the body of Christ. Of course, the church that witnesses is not a building, but a community of believers that have surrendered their lives to the Lord, have been transformed by his power, and have become channels through which God is still speaking to the world and to the cosmic powers. Witnessing is the essence of the church. It is not simply what the church does, but also what the church is. Where witnessing becomes a casualty, the church also becomes a casualty and begins to fade away. Witnessing is for the church what breathing is for a human being.


We belong to a world church that is united in witnessing to the world--to every nation, tribe, language, and people--the richness of God's love and wisdom in Jesus Christ. In our mission this proclamation of the wonders of the gospel takes place in the context of the closing of the cosmic conflict, thus adding urgency to our task. If you have ever asked yourself why you are on this planet, the answer is simple: you are here to witness for the Lord, to be a light in a world of darkness and disorientation. This places our jobs and professional careers in a different perspective. Yes, through them we earn our living, but they are much more than that. They are the skills the Lord gave us in order to bring us into contact with people that He could reach only through us. Thus our profession is fundamentally a vocation at the service of the Lord.

During this Week of Prayer we decided, under the guidance of the Spirit, to call the attention of our world family to the importance of witnessing. We must witness to the truth as it is revealed in Jesus and in the Scripture. We have been called by the Lord to witness, and the content of that witnessing embodies our destiny in Christ. One universal family is united in witnessing to the cross of Christ, to the meaning of that infinite sacrifice for us today, and to the consummation of the salvific significance of that sacrifice at his return in glory. John captured the essence of our mission, saying: "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life" (Rev. 22:17, NIV).

Yours in the service of Christ,

Jan Paulsen [Signature]



 
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