Open Air: Memory Loss

As regular readers will be aware, most Open Airs are written up as first-person point of view present tense narratives. And that’s what we would have today, except for the fact that I forgot to turn on the GoPro when we began. Without its aid, my memories of the afternoon are as inaccessible as the document that you lose somewhere in the deepest, darkest recesses of the drives, folders and files on your laptop. You know it’s in there somewhere, but…

Fortunately, Stephen has an excellent memory. Here are his observations.

I had a fairly long conversation with a man called Stephen. Perhaps it was just a total wind-up, but I didn't get that impression. In essence he says that the God of the Bible is "vengeful" because he doesn't forgive those who do not respond to the gospel message with repentance and faith but rather punishes them. He claims to have read "parts of" the Bible. A God like that isn't very Christian, but then he also said that Jesus Christ isn't very Christian. I asked what he meant by Christian and interestingly it is the word he chooses to use for what he in his own judgement determines to be "good". We parted in friendly disagreement.

A man asked if I knew of a local church that provides food. I directed him towards Brendan who would be better able to answer his question. He thanked me but did not head off in that direction.

I had a very brief interaction with a man called Andrew. He came over to me and asked for a tract, shook my hand and thanked me. Perhaps he is a believer but he was soon gone.

One of a group of 3 teens accepted a tract, scribbled on it and gave it back to me. I am so thankful that this sort of event is so very rare in our Piccadilly experience, as is finding tracts on the floor or noticing them discarded in nearby bins.

There is a young chap who has been listening for at least 3 weeks in a row. He wears a light blue body warmer. Is he perhaps a worker from a local shop or other business? He sits down next to the air monitoring unit, out of sight of J.'s preaching position but within earshot and eats his lunch. Then he moves and leans on a bollard way over to the left of the preacher and listens for a while, perhaps 10 minutes, then leaves. I do wonder whether to go over and speak to him but he gives me the impression that he might easily be scared off, and each time I have decided that the best course is to leave him to listen. I pray that that is the right decision.

Please pray for those mentioned above, if God lays it upon your heart to do so - especially for the young man in the blue body warmer. He’s always out of my sight, but, as Stephen says, he seems to be listening. It’s quite odd how many folk like to listen without drawing attention to themselves. They’ll stand at a distance, all alone, looking anywhere and everywhere apart from at the preacher - but you know that they’re taking it all in. That’s good enough for me.

Please pray also for the following folk, if you would.

[Prayer requests omitted here since they sometimes contain personal and/or sensitive information. However, I think we can make an exception in the case of Kelvin - although that is not his real name. If you are a born-again believer and would like to read the full newsletter in order to pray for this small evangelistic effort, please let our pastor have your email address, and he will arrange it.]

Kelvin? Well, you would have to meet him, but… He visits us from time to time, telling us how the Lord has filled him with His Spirit, and how he has the God-given strength to preach the Word to the waiting world… Alas, the rest of his conversation revolves around the claim that he now lives entirely without sinning - a remarkable achievement, I think you’ll agree. I can’t quite bring myself to kick him in the shins to test out his assertions, but I think someone ought to have a go. It would be a shame to let him linger on in this parlous position for too long…

We will be out again next week, God willing, on the edge of The Gardens, just opposite Superdrug, at about 12.30pm. You’re welcome to join us, and you will never be made to do anything that you don’t want to do. Observers at a distance or those who simply wish to support us in prayer will be most welcome.

Every blessing!