Open Air: The Reason Why

Here are Stephen’s notes on last week’s Open Air.

Last Wednesday was fairly quiet once more. It was pretty warm, definitely shorts weather. I gave out 66 tracts and 2 bibles. One of the bibles was given to a Muslim man along with a Blanchard booklet. I suspect these may end up in a bin somewhere. The other bible was given to a man who seemed to genuinely want it.

Also, when Jack was speaking, there was a woman who was crying out "I want to know why you are preaching when you don't know the first thing about it!" but she wouldn't engage in discussion and rushed off in a huff.

That’s a good question: “I want to know why you are preaching”. I have an answer, of sorts.

Some years ago, I was in the company of another Stephen, Stephen H., who had most generously taken me along with him to learn more about open air preaching. We were standing where we usually stand today - just the two of us. About halfway through our time together, he frowned. “D’you know, Jack,” he said, “nobody seems to be listening. I don’t know if we’re doing any good here.” I was surprised. He was normally so upbeat and encouraging.

I thought for a moment. Then I pointed down towards Market Street. “Do you see those preachers down there?” He frowned again. “No, I can’t see anybody preaching.” I pointed up towards Piccadilly Station. “Well, can you see the ones up there?” He shook his head. “No - there’s no one there!” “Well, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. When the great preachers of today make their appearance, and set up shop there and start to preach, we’ll pack our things away and go off for a nice cup of tea in Debenham’s café. But, until then, why don’t we just keep going?”

And so we did.

When Stephen’s other responsibilities took him elsewhere, I fully expected that to be the end of it. However - and much to my surprise, being a man of little faith - “Jehovah-Jireh”, as the KJV has it, or as the ESV puts it, “The LORD will provide”: other folk appeared to lend a hand, apparently out of nowhere. It certainly wasn’t anything that I did that brought them along, anyway…

And so, back to last Wednesday, when we had Brendan and Peter to assist us, as they have done so faithfully for quite a few years. They reported tracts going out in some hundreds, and a conversation with a lady called Beverley, who had been left with a house crowded out with grown up children and all the problems associated with such a situation.

While Stephen was preaching, I talked with a tall, dark and handsome young man, who was encouraging in what he had to say. However, glancing at his church’s website later in the day, I have to say that it isn’t what I would consider to be a sound and bible-based establishment. I won’t name it, so you won’t be tempted to go there…

Then there was Colin, the man whose sole topic of conversation is his sinlessness. I was reminded of the old joke about the man who had worked on his humility to such an extent that he was quite proud of it. Dearie me.

The fine weather has broken for the time being, but we will be carrying on as usual next Wednesday, God willing. Please pray for any or all of those mentioned above, if the Lord lays it upon your heart to do so. Feel free to join us if you wish, usual time and usual place. If you want to know more, please get in touch with either Stephen or myself, in person or by email. We would be pleased to hear from you.

Every blessing, as Stephen H. so often used to say.