Open Air: A Visit To The Doctor

While not without incident, last Wednesday was a relatively quiet Open Air. And yet, as ever, it brought to our attention several people in need of prayer.

First on the list is Brendan, who has given us his invaluable support for some years now. Unfortunately, he is finding it difficult to get out and about at present. Please pray, if you would, for his health and for his peace of mind as he deals with various problems.

So, here we are, just Stephen and Peter and myself, working away in the sunshine, enjoying what might well be the end of a season of fine weather. Stephen is on first, and the Liverpudlian in the baseball cap and Adidas outfit who has just taken a tract from me is in front of him now, interrupting his address. “Adam! What colour was he?” “I don’t know, I’ve never seen him.” “What colour’s Jesus?” “Jewish, so olive skin, I suppose.” “What colour’s God?” “He’s invisible, so I can’t tell you.” To his credit, Stephen keeps a straight face as he responds to silly questions with sensible answers - and then the exchange is ended as the man is dragged away by his companion, who tells him off as they go: “Just come on! Leave him alone!” Please pray for that man, if you would.

Meanwhile, I’ve been approached by a young man in a bright blue hoodie. He has an open, honest face and a ready smile. He introduces himself as Erik - with a k, he says - from Brazil. He’s here to study English, and he’s a Christian, and he would like a bible in English. We have one for him, and a Blanchard booklet for good measure. We have a pleasant chat, and he says he will pray for us and for our efforts. Perhaps we might return the favour…

Next to appear is a stocky, bespectacled bloke in an orange sports top and khaki pants. He would like a bible in Farsi. Regretfully, I tell him that we haven’t got one. I offer him an ESV, but it’s not what he wants, and he departs. Please pray that he will find one in the fullness of time, and put it to good use.

Now it’s my turn, and after replacing our motto - which has fallen from the lamppost again - I begin. Up comes a ragged rascal, who runs up and down demanding that I deal with “this whole (expletive deleted) system!” and various other injustices. I tell him that I’m doing just that by pointing people to the cure for sin in the human heart… but he trots away at speed, having had his moment of attention.

Everything is flowing along in fine style, until a magenta-haired muppet in a lilac tee shirt and baggy blue shorts stops to take a selfie as he gives me a V-sign. Well, nothing particularly new about that, and I offer him a mildly humorous rebuke as he’s walking away. He looks back over his shoulder and makes another obscene gesture, which doesn’t worry me at all. It’s the look on his face that makes me stop short. What is it Nils Lofgren says in “I Came To Dance”? “I’m not Bob Dylan but I never miss a beat…” This time, I do. There’s a malevolence in his expression that I’ve seldom seen. If looks could kill… Fortunately, they can’t.

A moment later, and I’m back on track. However, I’ve since found it uncommonly difficult to remember him in prayer. Perhaps you could help me out with that one?

As if to make up for that moment, my next visitor is a complete contrast. He’s solidly put together, despite a trace of embonpoint, his muscular arms showing off to good effect, folded over his black tee shirt. He seats himself on a nearby bollard and becomes an enthusiastic Amen Corner as I press on to the end of my address. With his encouragement, and perhaps an extra shot of adrenaline in my system by now, this last section is more fluent and heartfelt than that which went before.

When I’ve finished, he offers me a warm embrace. I have to say that I prefer a handshake to a hug, unless [The rest of this paragraph has been cut on the grounds that it was far too entertaining.] O tempora, o mores.

Our new friend, John, has an encouraging tale to tell, but the details are too personal to record here. He takes a bible and a copy of “Where Is God When Things Go Wrong?”, and soon he’s in conversation with Kieran, who has arrived to take the second shift, so to speak. We pack up and pray, and we leave the two men to talk together.

Please pray for John, for whom the next year or so will be a difficult time. Please pray also for the following people who spoke to Peter over the course of the afternoon: Michael, who asked for prayer for God’s guidance; the lady from the Congo who was trying to find fellowship with folk from her own country; and Albert from Liverpool, eighty-four years old and still giving out tracts amongst drug dealers and the like in his city.

The forecast is fine for tomorrow, and we’re rather down in numbers at present; so, if you’re able to join us in the usual place at the usual time, then that would be a big help. If you can’t come, then please pray for some or all of those mentioned above.

Every blessing!

Hmm. I think it’s time to go down into the cellar for a consultation. Where’s that CD? Crank up the Monitors, and…

I told him 'bout my dancing blues,

And why I had to feel the band tonight.

"Dr Feelgood, I promised this lady,

If I can't dance, she gonna break my nose!"

He said, "Easy now, easy now, I got the antidote!"

And he said...

Those were the days.