Sunday, September 30, 2007
Upside Down, You Got Me Turning, Inside Out, and Round and Round**
Something happened to me on 7th September that has literally shaken my thinking on evangelism. It revolves around this passage.
Yes, I did know this story before that date and yet it came alive........(doh)
I had been preparing with a little team for an alpha course for families - we had prayed lots, we had planned together, we had prayed some more. Food for 30 was waiting. As 6pm drew near, no-one came. Ah well, I thought, a lovely meal awaits and this will be relaxing, all these folks are good friends of mine and it will be an opportunity to chat and catch up.
But something within me ROSE up - NO! It's not to be like this - we can't sit and share a meal so comfy and cosy - so it was coats on and into the street as we set off find people who will come eat with us. "Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find." So two of us set out and I invited families in the nearby park to our meal.
One family came - and the sense of God's love and care for them is moving me to tears every time I think of it. As a friend put it: think how much God loved them that he wanted to seek them out; it's as if the other people who were busy just weren't meant to come so that this family were reached with a meal which represented love, compassion and friendship. And they live on our doorstep.
It's this Lost Sheep principle which we lose when we become numbers driven...what? An alpha course with only two guests? And one a child! Hallelujah! Not just two people - it's a household! One of my most favourite speakers, Heidi Baker, who does phenomenal work in Mozambique and Malawi says "love the one, just the one. Everyone love the one in front of you. Then more will be added as they love the one in front of them".
And so my thoughts have turned to the flats in the streets around; the houses and streets aren't as wide and spacious and green as the houses which most of our congregation live in. The families perhaps not nuclear. And yet these are my neighbours. I feel some of my thoughts and strategies for the future being re-formed over the last two weeks in the light of this parable.
If the people we work and socialise with are too busy with their property (= field); their possessions (= oxen)or their partners, who are we to share the good news to?
**Can you name who sang this song? Answers in the comments!