We invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.
By Pastor Chris Wheatley, Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services
“We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—[…] we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” — 1 John 1:1, 3, 4, NIV
To be a Christian is to be part of a line of witnesses that stretches back nearly 2,000 years. It is to profess that there was a singular event in human history, in a particular time and place, that has eternal implications. That the most important truth about the world around us, the Risen Christ, was on earth for only 40 days during the first century before ascending into Heaven, where he waits to come again to judge the living and the dead.
This can leave the modern believer in a bit of a quandary. We are centuries past the event to which we witness, and most of us rely upon the written records of the time, the four gospels, for our understanding. So how can we possibly say something new and relevant?
For guidance, let us turn to the opening verse of 1 John, “We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life.”
Please don’t misunderstand. The book of 1 John is not one of Paul’s letters, written only a few decades after Christ’s Resurrection. This is a book written a century after his birth. Nobody in the community that is being described actually saw Jesus with their own eyes and touched him with their hands.
But they still declare in all truth that what they have seen, what they have heard, and what they have touched can witness to the “word of life.” And so can we. Every person in this room has seen a life changed by the work of Jesus here, today. Every one of us has heard the word of God being spoken by those who continue his mission. And every one of you has been invited to be the love of Jesus Christ in every interaction you have with those in need.
When we declare the saving grace of Jesus Christ, we are certainly talking about a death and resurrection in ancient Jerusalem. But we are also talking about the difference we still see it make among us now. And if we are to be true witnesses, it must be because we have experienced Jesus Christ in our lives as well, and know that his love continues in our ministry here at Presbyterian Homes & Services.
Rev. Chris Wheatley serves PHS as Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and has served in hospice, eldercare, hospital, HIV/AIDS and congregational settings. He and his wife Nicole are perpetually outnumbered by cats and Dobermans.
The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.
Find more in the Light for the Way series:
Navigating uncertainty: re-hearing the story of the women at the tomb
God's story can turn an ending into an eternity
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series
In addition to Light for the Way, you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care website.