On Wednesday night we did something different with our on going project “Pints Of View” where we make ourselves available to chat to anyone who wants to chat in our community by sitting in Weatherspoon’s wearing a clerical collar!
We went along to the Kings Arms, pub next door to Trinity, and borrowed one of their rooms and myself and another guy prayed and worshipped for a bit (we did invite a whole load of other folk, but it was just the two of us who came).
Part of me felt why didn’t I just meet next door and pray and worship there, surely God doesn’t mind where we pray anyway? -And worshipping, especially singing, makes me feels a vulnerable and self conscious, especially when there are only two of you there!
Eminem’s lyrics rang out in the bar and a few “F&*$#!” rang out from the loosing team at pool, whilst we prayed and sung out prayers for Gods love to be made manifest in that place…
Wes lead us in an old worship song “Hallejuah my Saviour” which featured the lines “knowing we would bruise him and strike him from the earth” -for some reason the image caused a lump in my throat. I then though of some of the guys they all have something in front of their name “Vicar Andy”, “Beardy Mike”, “Sleepy Al”, “Dancing Paul” and “bruised Christ” seemed to resonate yet in a way, being in the midst of real lie for many people, this felt more Jesus-like that hidden away on our own in some great religious building,
Humanly speaking prayer and worship don’t seem like very worthwhile or productive activities yet seen from heavens perspective they are crucial.
I have said many times about how all great moves of God are birthed in prayer, and it is true, in fact the Hebradean revival as literally a small group of elderly ladies praying. We all know this and yet trying to motivate the Church to pray has been incredibly difficult. Interestingly prayer before our services is the last job we do after set up is done and often people say “I can’t join you in prayer as I’m doing…” I know set up in important but is shows our hearts that often prayer is not as central to our lives together as it should be.
I have been challenged many times, and I still get caught with this, that I run around like a headless chicken and probably need to spend more times simply on my face before God.
We prayed for our area, we prayed for the city, we prayed for more of God in our own lives,
Before wandering over to Weatherspoon’s, and we had we were joined by a friend Phil, and we had a nice chat… We didn’t see mass revival, but I think God was doing something, and I think he saw our hearts and I believe this small step of faith pleased him, yet I think that the next step of faith is about ensuring that this happens next week, and the week after, something of Jacob wrestling with God “we’re not going till you bless us”…
This is a intentional seeking of Christ’s face, rather than going through the tick box of a prayer meeting often attended out of a sense of duty but limited expectation…
I believe, that as we seek Christ, out of our comfort zone, in the heart of the community, offering ourselves and making ourselves available, we will see him becoming more and more known in Kingswood.
And as I think about my time in Kingswood, perhaps I have spent too long in the rock soil of religious people who don’t always realise their need of a Saviour… Perhaps to find good soil we need to be here the F words are flowing, Eminem is playing on the Duke Box, people don’t try to looked suited and respectable and often are very often about their pain and the mess of their lives.
Jesus said those who are well don’t need a Doctor, but only those who are sick, yet we spend our time pandering to “healthy” people in our Churches dealing with their coughs and sneezes whilst out from our Church walls there is horrific epidemics breaking out.
It sounds harsh, but I wonder if for to long I pandered to the spiritual hypochondriacs rather than going on an aid mission to they dying, setting up field hospitals and outposts and seeking to bring the healing, transforming, hope-filled love the Saviour to the streets.
I mused the words of Eminem in contrast to our worship songs, one told of anger, hurt, loneliness and rejection the other of hope, love and acceptance.
I remember a quote which said “to change the world you need to tell a better story” and felt that in one sense this is what we are doing, being a prayerful presence, living out and showing a different and better story than the rant of Eminem with the love of God who stoops down to reach us from gutter.