The essence of witnessing
- This page is part of an ERW course, Religious practice.
- By John Eagles, March 18, 2010.
As we are called to go out witnessing and spread our faith we wish to make good external results. This is only possible on the basis of a good internal foundation. What is the essence of witnessing?
Even from the internal viewpoint, there are more possible explanations. Here i wish to speak about the essence of witnessing with regard to restoration history, that is the restoration of ourselves and the restoration of the original Kingdom of God centered on the Messiah.
What are the foundations that must be made? These are the Foundation of Faith, the Foundation of Substance and the Foundation to receive the Messiah. How do these foundations relate to our task to go out witnessing?
Actually, witnessing cannot be understood separate from these foundations. If i go out witnessing of my faith, i must have faith. Sometimes we feel we must witness of a church or of the Messiah, but in fact we can only witness of our FAITH in our church or Messiah and that faith, when it amounts to anything, should be rooted in our faith in God.
We go out to witness of our faith and this is possible when we have faith. Now to have faith cannot be demanded from you or me. A church leader cannot go to a member and say: "Have faith and go out and witness!" Things don't work like that.
The Divine Principle correctly speaks about 'foundation' of faith and this is very meaningful. A foundation is something that must be built. Faith is something that must be built as a foundation and on a foundation. We build up our faith by doing God's will in our daily lives and when we do that, the Foundation of Faith becomes the Foundation to receive God's Word. Each person must build his her or own foundation of faith. The Foundation of Faith needs a central figure, and when i speak about myself, or you about yourself, that central figure is me or you.
God is speaking to us, not a leader does that, not a person, not even the Messiah, in essence it is and must be God who is speaking to us and gives us a task to do. Then we respond in trust in God and over a certain time period we build up an offering of faith, which we then offer to God. Normally a certain number is attached to that offering.
When our offering was acceptable to God we can receive God's Word, meaning that we then can begin to understand God's Word, receive the essence of God's Word in our hearts. Before we made a Foundation of Faith up until a certain level, we may study God's Word, but these words, however true they are, cannot be received in our hearts. Only upon a foundation of faith, we can truly grasp the meaning of God's Word and it is only then that true faith begins to grow in us.
At that point, and this stage is recurring continually and progressively, day and day again, we shall have and keep faith. And at that moment we become ready for entering the next stage of our foundation, which is called Foundation of Substance. Our faith can now be expressed substantially, into all that we do, in our relationships to all that is around us, but specifically in our relationship to other people. In that Foundation of Substance, or the uniting of people centered on God, always between two people one takes a more heavenly position and the other a more worldly position. We often speak about this in terms of people being Abel or Cain.
Having made our own Foundation of Faith we now not only can unite with those who stand in more central positions under God, we can also become a center of faith ourselves. On the basis of a larger Foundation of Faith, we are automatically going to meet the people we need to meet. When the disciple is ready, the master will be there, but also it is true that when the master is ready, the disciple will come. We shall meet those whom we should meet. This is true for whatever external situation we are in. It is therefore also true for when we go out street-witnessing.
When several people unite in good love and harmony centered on God, that constitutes the Foundation to receive the Messiah for that group. Said in a different way, when a group of people is united in faith and love, the Messiah can come to that group. Although this may become true in an external sense, it first of all needs to be understood from an internal viewpoint. The Messiah can come means: God can come to that group, can work in that group. Of course God will then also work through people in the position of Messiah, but most important is that God can work at all.
There is this magic in our daily lives that when we make the right foundations in faith to God, things are going to work out as they should. We are going to experience miracles in our meeting people. We are going to experience miracles in how our understanding of God's truth grows day by day. This is not accomplished firstly by speaking about the Messiah, it is accomplished by our constant growth in understanding how God works through the Messiah. And this we can only understand when we experience God's work in our own lives.
The call to go out witnessing is meant to build up God's Kingdom of Heaven centered on the Messiah, whom we know in their mission and position as True Parents, or first parents of mankind. The Kingdom of Heaven can only be built up by making a Foundation to receive the Messiah, and this can only be done, not primarily or only by speaking about the Messiah, but by building up our faith in God and by our unity among each other, and then offering all this to God. That is how the Messiah will be able to come in our lives, increasingly. This is how God's Kingdom can really come.