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The WLA theme passage for the 2015-2016 school year is from Acts 1:8 "You will be my witnesses." As I've been thinking about that passage and pondering how this year's theme song will go, one thing has stood out for me: the verb tense. Jesus was speaking to his disciples over 2000 years ago as he was about to ascend into heaven. He told his disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to come on them in Jerusalem so that they would be his witnesses after He was gone. For them, all the action was going to be in the future: the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the chance to speak of Jesus to both Jews and Gentiles.
But are we waiting to be Jesus' witnesses too? Will we only be God's witnesses in the future?
I contend that what was in the future for Jesus' disciples is in the present for us Christians: we are Jesus' witnesses right now. We who have been baptized have received the same Holy Spirit's power and faith that the disciples were given. Our Great Commission to go into the world, baptizing and preaching in God's name, has been with us as long as we've been alive. I wanted to impress this fact on the WLA high school students by changing the tense of the verb to the present ("we are His witnesses") in this year's theme song.
I also have been pondering how we are witnesses for Jesus. What does a witness do at an accident scene? They tell the authorities what they have seen and heard. They tell the truth. They say what they know. How do we witness for Christ? We say who he is. We say what he has done. We state the facts clearly from God's Word and let his Word be the authority for our witness.
So it was with the lyrics for this year's theme song. I tried in the refrain to plainly state who God is: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each verse is a very simple exposition on the chief act of each person of the Trinity. The bridge is the comforting passage from Matthew 10:32 where Jesus tells us that if we witness for him, he will be our witness to his heavenly father that we have been his witnesses on earth.
May this year's theme song be a blessing to anyone who sings it or hears it. I give my permission for it to be used without copyright restriction in any of the churches of the WLA Association. Any other people who would like to use it, I ask that you email me to ask permission to use it.
Thank you and God's blessings!