Come and See
And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” – John 4:41-42
A lot of what we do is based on invitation. Certainly there are times we do things because the peak our interest or we come across something interesting. But there are a fair amount of times when we are invited to participate in something; whether that is a hobby, or a social/service group, or maybe even a career.
Maybe we accept that invitation and begin to become part of the group. We either learn that it isn't right for us, or we learn that we enjoy being part of it and work to become more involved. When the latter happens, then it's no longer because of the invitation that we stay but it's our own discovery about why it's a good fit.
In the above story of the Samaritan woman who tells her town about Jesus, there is invitation and acceptance. We aren't told how many people rejected the invitation (there were obviously some, because “many” is not “all”), but there were people who did; and those who did, did so at her proclamation/invitation.
We are called to bear witness to Christ wherever we may be. We need to remember that people generally don't show up at church because it's a beautiful building or because we use incense occasionally or because we have an excellent choir. There are exceptions, of course, such as those people who are already Episcopalians, or who are already Christians and may be looking for a new home. But for people who are neither of those, they tend not to just wander in.
Bearing witness to Christ takes many forms, but at its most basic level, it means having the willingness to talk about Christ to others. In that talking, hopefully there is also an invitation. Hopefully there is an invitation to come and see and experience what I have experienced.
Pentecost is a week and a half away and we will once again be reminded about the apostles who bore witness to Christ. Sometimes I think we get intimidated by Pentecost – the apostles speaking in a variety of languages that led to about 3000 people being baptized that day.
Instead of Pentecost, think about the Samaritan woman at the well who, without any dramatic miracles, spoke to the people she knew and invited them to experience Jesus, and then let them decide for themselves if they would or would not follow.
In the whole evangelistic process, welcoming and inviting people to come and see is the first step.