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Witnessing an Interrupting Spirit
Jun 26, 2013 | Submitted by Jeff Nelson, Mentor

Day 9

Theme: Life in the Spirit: Witness Faculty Speaker: Rev. Dr. Chuck Campbell, Professor of Homiletics Lectionary Texts: Deut. 6; Isa. 49:1-7; Ps. 84; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Acts 1:1-8 Preacher: Rev. Elizabeth Michael, Associate Pastor at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church Celebrant: Rev. Ismael Ruiz-Millan, Director of Hispanic House of Studies at DDS

Reflections from the Lecture:

Today, we listened to a provocative lecture on ‘Life in the Spirit: Witness’ by the Rev. Dr. Chuck Campbell, who teaches preaching at Duke Divinity. Defining ‘witness’ as (a) the act of seeing, smelling, or hearing something; (b) sharing and bearing witness; and (c) the person who does these things. In order to witness, Christians must pay attention to both the good and bad things in life and discern, with the help of the Holy Spirit, “the remarkable in everyday happenings.” In other words, Christians are called to see and name both the Spirit’s presence in the world and the world’s deep places of hurt and sorrow. Witnessing is about revealing the way the world is, and it is something all Christians are called to do and be. Witnessing is never neutral, and for Christians, belief in the Triune God and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is “that which we witness to most deeply [and] that for which we’d give up our life.”


“Witness is not passive, it’s actively inviting our bodies into spaces where we need to pay attention.” — Chuck at plenary

“At the heart of the Gospel is an act of evil, injustice, and the violence of the cross. The Gospel is often hidden in the most unexpected places.” — Chuck at plenary

“With four gospels, you will NEVER get a handle on Jesus.” — Chuck at plenary

“They will know we are Christians by our love.”— during today’s (and the first) student-led worship service.

“Remember.”— Rev. Elizabeth Michael, who preached at today’s worship service.

Other Activities

This morning, we were interrupted when the fire alarm sounded off in Duke Chapel during morning prayer. Fortunately, it was just a test, and we finished prayer on the lawn before a lecture our plenary session on witness. We then broke into our worship workshops to plan and outline our student-led worship services. After lunch in the Refectory, the group split into four prayer workshops before free time. We reconvened for a delightful hospitality dinner with Urban Hope, a local neighborhood ministry which empowers students with entrepreneurial skills so they can invest and take pride in their community. The DYA community split into two teams, the Chili Peppers and Tasty Italians, feasting and fellowshipping with the Urban Hope students and staff and DYA-ers. It was delicious! Following this, we began our worship service, the first student-led one of DYA 2013. The wonderful praise music was accented by a beautiful liturgical dance. The service ended with the congregation’s forming a large circle in Goodson Chapel and partaking of Holy Communion with one another. A powerful witness, indeed! After mentor groups, it is time for bed. Tomorrow: the Spirit, reconciliation, and a Durham pilgrimage!



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