Lincoln’s High Street was buzzing yesterday as visitors and tourists alike enjoyed the sumptuous summer sunshine. Every street corner appeared to have police officers waiting nervously for the expected tide of Scottish Celtic soccer fans to invade the town. Ploughing through the Street’s masses of retail therapists, with my faithful pup Suki at my side, I noticed something unusual out of the side of my eye.
A colorful sign erected on the sidewalk, boldly claiming ‘God Heals Today’, was surrounded by two gentlemen and a lady with matching tee-shirts backing up the sign’s message. The thing that really caught my prophetic attention though were the two accompanying empty chairs sitting invitingly towards the passing crowd. They seemed to proclaim, ‘Come to me , all you that are heavy laden and I will give you rest’ as the ignoring shoppers swept past to buy their next piece of kit.
Being a bit of a spiritual nosey Parker, I approached one of the two gentlemen manning the display. Rob was a salt of the Earth kind of 40+ guy, who’d only come back to Christianity a year before. As we swapped stories it emerged that he too had suffered at the hands of abusive religion in his youth. Having attended a boarding school he’d also suffered regular sexual abuse by older boys for almost three years. Now settled in a ‘loving’ local church he’d a great heart to be an evangelist, wanting to go to a bible school and learn how to be one. Rob was also planning to take in a young recent convert as a lodger to get him away from the local drug culture. His wife, although not a believer, was happy for Rob to do his religious thing as it seemed to have improved his previously turbulent home life. Rob, confessed to me that he swore at times and that his dear wife would remind him of his new faith. I encouraged him that St. Patrick, the hero of all Irishmen was prone to a few swear words himself and not to worry.I don’t think Rob needs to go to Bible College – they’d only clone him into their own evangelical image!
As Rob and I chatted on, with Suki’s attention thankfully absorbed by the passing sea of people, I noticed a lady taking one of the empty seats for prayer. Rob’s companions gently laid hands on her and prayed for some form of physical healing. After a few minutes she got up and paddled off back into the passing stream of humanity.
I suggested to Rob that he continue to be real with folk by not using religious language and to take care of his own fragile psyche as he sought to find an outlet for his new life. He listened carefully and respectfully to his new Irish friend before being dragged away by a beer drinking youth, who’d been a visitor to his church on a number of occasions.
The Presence spoke to me yesterday. The place where Divine Wisdom calls is the High Street, the place where people search for their next material or emotional fix. May God bless and protect Rob and his like as they try to draw people to Yeshua and His Abba God.