We’d a cold and wet day of it in the end; even at he beginning it was not what you’d have wanted. Our pastor likes to get out into the market place and talk to people about Jesus. It seems only right that a few of the elders should get out there too; yesterday was my turn.
We do it via a little bookstall. He stands on the proverbial soapbox (you have no idea how hard it is to get one of them) and he talks. It is interesting to watch the process. As those of us accompanying him (usually a couple of the elders and some of the sunday school children) form a small audience, others join us. He gave a short sermon on ‘God is love’, and we handed out some leaflets and booklets and invited people to talk with us, as we handed out coffee and tea. It was gratifying the number of folk who stopped to talk.
We found a few more destinations for some of the food from the food bank, and one person told us about his worries about a neighbour who we went to visit in the afternoon; a nice old lady, but one who seems to have her doubts about the local NHS. We were able to help with a bit of shopping and spot of cleaning, and she’s being ferried chez Sales tomorrow for Sunday lunch. She’s a lonely old soul.
I had a chat with her about ‘the old days’, and her story’s a familiar one. She’s a couple of adult children, but they’ve moved away and have little contact with her. Her husband died a couple of years ago, and since then she’s become a bit of a recluse. The chapel to which she used to go further up the valley is not reachable without a car, and her husband was the driver. She took to our pastor, and as she lives a short walk from us, we invited her to join us in the morning. She’s a Christian woman, but she has no community any more.
There are many such. As you get older it sometimes gets more difficult to stay in touch. She said that no one from her old chapel had been in touch, and so she’d lost touch. Contact, that seemed to be what she lacked. Well, I hope that she will find one with us – for a while.
So, from an open air mission designed to make contact with the unchurched, we ended up making contact with someone who through no fault of her own had become unchurched. As the pastor and I drove back I commented that neither of us had asked what sort of Christian she was (although we could guess from the name of her old chapel); he smiled and said: ‘do we really care Geoffrey?’ And you know what? We didn’t.
We sometimes wonder whether these Saturday sessions do anything other than scratch the surface; this was a reminder that however small the effort, the reward is in God’s hands. So, we’ll be three for Sunday lunch chez Sales.