Every Thursday I spend the day in Peterborough working as a city centre chaplain. To get to the city I bike and train. This morning I rushed to the train station on my bike and ran onto the platform relieved the train was running late. I then had the most amazing conversation with a stranger who revealed to me how important it is for Christians to ‘lift up your eyes’ and see people. You see this lady had experienced some major heart ache. She told me about some of the loss and pain she had gone through and then said something so profound that I thanked her for sharing it with me:
One day she was feeling so sad and alone when after doing her shopping she was in a car park when a complete stranger, a woman, approached her and asked why she looked so sad. She proceeded to pour out her heart and afterwards the woman offered to pray for her, to which she accepted. ‘She said some lovely kind words over me and I felt strengthened.’ This incident had a profound effect on this woman and helped her considerably. I explained that as part of my job I encourage Christians to ‘look out’ for those around them and to engage with them about their faith. For this lady that was the best thing that could have happened to her.
As we approached the station the lady thanked me for listening. I shared some words of the love of God and encouraged her to pop in one of her local Churches. She expressed to me how good it was to talk.
Later on in the day I approached two people walking with sticks and hobbling along slowly. I asked them if I could pray for them and to ask God for healing. After a bit of chit-chat and explanation they agreed and then thanked me for praying with them. They were strangers who may, I hope, become friends over time. Like the guys I see every week in their amazing Tattoo and piercing parlour. They have become friends. Or the guy that I meet regularly for coffee… he was a stranger and is now a friend who has volunteered to help with the chaplaincy work.
What are your experiences of talking to strangers or having people talk to you?! Let me know!