REALLY NEW EVANGELISM. THE 3 R’S. The third “R”.
“Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” Mark 4:27
I occasionally feel that some who wish to evangelise don’t trust in God enough to leave Him to get on with His own work. Evangelists can appear to see their job as sowers of the seed, as in the parable of the sower. Of course, it is God who is the sower: it is his Word which He scatters. We are the recipients – the bushes, the weeds, the stones and the earth. At best we are fertile soil. That is why the work of evangelism is to Receive and to Recognise the Word as it rains down randomly upon us.
Relax – it is not about sales.
God’s love is what is. We already have it with us, inside our skins. The Gospel does not need promotion or urgent campaigns for recruitment.
Receiving and Recognising are about communion and praising God; not about selling what we believe to others. Receiving is an act of communion in which I am the one who is converted, over and over again. This means that our acts of communion, thanksgiving and eucharist are also acts of inclusion. Nothing is more scandalous in Christian Churches than when the Eucharist is weilded as a means of exclusion. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” Mk. 10:14
In schools “praise” is recognition of a person who is learning. The Gospels exhort us to recognise Christ in all men and women, especially those who are different from us. Relaxing is about being able to let go and allow God to do his sowing, especially in ourselves. Our job is to be fertile soil, turned over and over, churned and mixed with the soil around us. Let Him do the digging, the moving and the furrowing.
Relax, “Let it be done unto me.”
When I was in rehab, 15 years ago, I accepted that I had no control over my life and my drinking. When I acquiesced I had no idea just how much I would be clay in the hands of the potter when I said my “Let it be”. Many people say, “You must have a lot of will-power”. Actually, no, I have hardly any will-power but I do feel as if I have been worked and worked and worked by a potter.
The question, I suppose, for evangelists is whether to be like clay or whether we think God’s will for us is that we become potter’s on His behalf. I suppose it’s a bit of both but the Church seems to have lots of potters around and not a lot of putty.
Receive, Recognise and Relax.
Often I feel that all I need to do is flop down into the sofa of God’s Love; to relax in Him and trust. This is especially so when life seems threatening or dull, or fraught or useless. This is the very time to receive and recognise Christ in the stranger who will undoubtedly be sent to us. If we are rooted in prayer we may not need to say a word. “…. do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say.” Matt. 10.19.
To sum up these mini-blogs on passive Evangelisation, I’m grateful to David Torkington for reminding me of the words attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, “preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”