It makes me chuckle a bit when I look at my business card and see that I am an Evangelization Coordinator. Me? Ha. I remember being so shy in school that I couldn’t look at my teachers, couldn’t possibly volunteer any good answers. And don’t we sometimes think that having all the answers is what evangelization requires? Yet here we are, you and me both, being asked to proclaim God’s goodness to His world. Sometimes it seems impossible.
I remember a day when my young son and I were trying to plow through a Cub Scout badge requirement list together. I tried and tried to have him answer what I considered to be this simple question from the list: How do you practice your faith? He couldn’t tell me. Even though I reworded it, gave hints, and cajoled, he absolutely could not say one single thing about his beliefs. It seemed impossible. Now, my child’s silence might not come as a surprise to those of you who know children with a stubborn streak or those of you who, like my boy that day, find that they just cannot put their faith into words. But the thing is: he can. You can. We all can. Here’s how I know.
A while after that merit badge frustration, both of my younger sons and I were driving through the neighborhood when the one I was just telling you about said, “Mom! Today at recess I got to tell my friend about God!” Though my heart was bursting with joy, I calmly looked into the rearview mirror and prompted, “Oh yeah?” His little brother then blurted out, “What did you talk about?” He replied, “I taught him how to pray and how he shouldn’t use God’s name for no reason.”
Wow. Two great lessons, there! I do wish I could have heard the playground conversation. But I didn’t, and quite frankly, it wasn’t any of my business; it was theirs — and God’s. God puts each of us, every day, into situations of evangelization. He gives us the time, the place, and the audiences — including our zoom groups, fantasy football buddies, pew-mates, co-workers, spouses, Facebook friends, neighbors, and even people on the same freeway. All the time, God lovingly places us into the lives of people with whom we are uniquely suited to talk. To love. To encourage. To forgive. To impart grace. To serve. God even promises to give us the appropriate words, just as He gave the disciples the right words (strange, foreign-tasting words!) at Pentecost, if we can merely offer to Him the open hearts – and open mouths – to use. God Himself does the job.
We don’t have to ‘have all the answers,’ we just need to know the One who is The Answer. Are you willing to be that kind of evangelist? Am I? Let’s say this prayer today: “Holy Spirit, source of all true wisdom, help me to claim and proclaim God’s steadfast love. Fill me up and pour me out, Lord. Amen.”