WHERE’S YOUR FAITH?

The Second Sunday in May

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May 2014 • Witnessing

May 1, 2014

     I used to be ashamed of my faith. I grew up that way, and I have only just recently grown out of it.

     I was four years old when I first rejected witnessing. Of course, not everyone would call it that, but I would. I remember being at a professional photographer’s studio, dressed in my best sky blue dress, the one with embroidery of roses on the ample scalloped collar. The woman photographer had sent my mother out of the room, thinking, I now suppose, that I would listen better to her instruction for posing.
     She bent down on her knees, right in front of me, and she placed her hands under her chin, palms together and fingers pointed upward, as though praying.
     She nodded, “Now you do this.”
     I remember recognizing that she wanted me to look as though I were praying. And I didn’t want to. So I tucked my chin down to the side, pretending not to understand. That is the pose that she captured. Only I have known what transpired to bring about a picture of a very coy little girl.
     Until now I have never told this story, though I have several copies of that favorite childhood portrait in my possession. Even my mother, who died recently, never knew how the photographer couched me to be a pious little girl. And I refused, not wanting the image of a pious little girl.
     Why do we hesitate to witness for God? Why are we ashamed of our faith? Happening at such a young age for me, the impulse to stifle my religion must have been instinctive.
     I think we hesitate to witness because God is so intimate to ourselves. We hesitate to put our piety on parade, even if we are four years old.
     Maybe this is not such a bad thing. To witness means that we must wear our heart on our sleeve. Most of us don’t feel comfortable with such transparency until we are quite along in years. We let our preachers speak for us. And we hang back; embarrassed by a show of emotion, especially one that speaks of God.
     Let’s ask ourselves if we can share a bit more of our faith this day. The courage it takes to share actually opens up hearts—our own as well as other people whom we encounter.
     Would we want God to be ashamed of us? Then let’s us not be ashamed of Him.

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