I was struck by a phrase that I read in the book of Acts when Paul was carried away from an angry crowd who were shouting for him to be rid of! Paul asked ‘may I say something to you?’ (Acts 21.37)
So I made a simple sign and set up a plinth for me to meet people and for them to give me permission to say something to them.
Most of the time I just stood waiting as my friends who are part of the chaplaincy team gave out hugs, free water or chatted with people.
However the question made me alert. What would I say to each person who walked by, I thought.
What good news do they need to hear? Would what I wanted to say make sense to them? Would I speak prophetic words or just simple words?
Those who said yes, that I could say something had a heightened expectancy to get something meaningful from me.
One man who I simple said ‘you are not a mistake’ was visibly moved by my simple statement. Another responded with thanks as I simply said ‘you are loved ‘
One lady wanted to know how I could believe that there is a God who could love her.
It is such a simple question to ask people, and one that I would like to keep asking. It feels strangely subversive, non confrontational and with the ability to open up a dialogue about what I believe and to hear what others believe.
The gospel can’t just be proclaimed to people in a language they can’t understand. Speaking into people’s lives takes permission.
In what way can you say something in a non confrontational and loving way?