I met up with my best mate a fella called Mark in Oxford, and we went out for a pie and a pint…
I had a steak and Ale Pie but when it came and I cut into the fantastic pastry and an amazing gravy poured out, but as I dug about there wasn’t a single bit of steak.
Which when you order a steak pie, you expect a bit of, er, steak!
It was a steakless steak and Ale Pie.
Bishop Mike recently spoke about the Prophet Amos, a shepherd, a straight talking guy who didn’t pull his punches… a hero of social justice “but let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (ch.5.24) but when we skip on to Chapter 8, God for-tells us of a Famine not of food or drink but of people hearing his word, his voice.
I worry about me facing Jesus and him saying “so who did you tell about me?” and I’ll say “Well, I gave out lots of flip flops and water with Street Pastors, I helped at the Foodbank, and was an active supporter of CAP locally, I was involved in homeless work and lots of churchy stuff…”
But Jesus asks me the same question again, that is fantastic, but “who did you TELL about me?”
Bishop Mike challenged us as we think about becoming prayerful Christians, Christians with our sleeves rolled up engaged in social justice, is their a danger that we do nothing to combat the famine and poverty of the word of God.
A bit like the gravy pie, we can be prayerful about mission, we can be faithful in works of Compassion and Mercy but where is the steak?
Where is the opening our mouths and speaking well of our Saviour?
When do we proclaiming his word, his truth, his good news, his Gospel.
Sometimes our Churches are very good at almost everything EXCEPT telling people about Jesus.
I fear (if that’s the right word) what people will say to me on judgement day, I pray they don’t say something like: “Andy, you fed me, bought me a coffee, handed me a flyer and made a couple of phone calls on my behalf, but why didn’t you tell me about Jesus?
But lets not forget to have real conversations with real people about Jesus, opportunities to proclaim the gospel, teach his word, and share his message.
Although St. Francis probably never said: “preach the Gospel at all times and if necessarily use words” I think we have good at blessing people but need to be unashamed to talk authentically and honestly about Jesus and the Salvation he won for us.
Lets be Christians who put the steak back in the pie!