Can I Get a Witness?

I remember being told, in Sunday school while sitting on those olive green chairs the exact size of my small backside, that I was called to be a witness. I was to witness to the power of Christ. I remember being told about what a witness does in court. A witness tells what they have seen. A witness tells the stories of the things that happened to them, of the things they saw happen to others. 

Can I get a witness?

Later, working in the inner-city some of my students would sing praise songs during study hall. They liked to “have church” right there in the back row, whether or not it was sanctioned by me. (It almost never was. I really just needed them to be quiet. But there they were, singing whatever they pleased.) Sometimes they would really get going, hands in the air. 

Can I get a witness? 

One of my friends, in her infinite wisdom, often just says “witnessing” in the comments section of particularly hard and vulnerable semi-private Facebook posts. Witnessing, I am bearing witness. Liking a post about how someone is having a terrible time seems strange, so we have re-named it witnessing and the little thumbs-up numbers climb. I see you, I see that this is hard, I am witnessing your darkness, your journey, your pain.

Can I get a witness?

I had been following the story of the Nigerian girls kidnapped from their school through Twitter. This is officially how I get most of my information; I stay surprisingly  I thought it was terrible. I thought it was sad. I did not speak up. I do not think I even managed a re-tweet. One more thing in a terrible world. Of course it was terrible, but still I did nothing. It was far from my home, it seemed to terrible to wrap my head around. What am I going to do about it anyway? The only excuse I can muster is that my heart had hardened.

Can I get a witness?

My heart thawed quickly last night, when someone began tweeting the names of the girls who are missingTheir names. With their names I can no longer pretend that they don’t belong to the same world I live in. With their names, I am reminded that these girls are people too. Not just some tragedy I lament over, not a 140 character news story. I am reminded, with every name, that these are people. Women with hopes and dreams and families that are frozen in fear for their girls. I was reminded. I finally saw what was right in front of me.

Can I get a witness?

I’m thinking about the message in Sunday school. I am remembering that I am called to be a witness. I am feeling my heart ache as it softens for these names I have finally read. I am understanding, just a little bit, the magnitude of the responsibility, to be ready to testify to things of this world. 

Can I get a witness?



5 thoughts on “Can I Get a Witness?

  1. Amen, Abby, Amen. I heard that the Nigerian officials are pleading with our president to help in some way. I don’t know what government will do, but as for the rest of us, well, this is our house, this world, and we will serve the Lord, so prayers for all those girls, begging prayers. My heart often is hardened, cause it hurts so much not to be. But in the long run, the hurt of not caring gets to me more.

  2. Seeing their names.was so powerful wasn’t it. I remwber many years ago a group of Ugandan schoolgirls was kidnapped hy the LRA. I kept a newspaper cutting with their names on and prayed for them often.

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