Each year in Lent, the churches in the village (OK, I know it is really a suburb but the locals like to think of it as a village) usually get together to have a joint lenten study on one topic or another with the intent that come Easter we are better prepared as Christians.
There has been no centrally organised course this year, so the Bible study group I attend went looking for a study and we found a book called ‘Finding A Voice’ which looks at the fears we all have in expressing our Christian faith to others. It is based on the fears of the Duke of York as shown in the film ‘The King’s Speech’ with Colin Firth and Helena Bonham-Carter.
Anyone who has seen the film will remember the embarrassment of the crowd in the first scene when the Duke made a speech at the close of the Empire Exhibition at Wembley. The Duke was so terrified that he was unable to communicate and the thing that we need to remember is that God sometimes chooses people who have difficulty in communicating to act for Him. Think of Moses, whose abilities in this regard were so poor that Aaron was appointed to speak the words that God gave to Moses to third parties for one.
I am not saying that Moses was overcome by fear and that was why he was a poor speaker, but for many people, speaking in public or speaking to strangers is one of the most difficult things we can ever be asked to do. People are often almost paralysed by fear. When we are aware that the subject matter of our speaking may be rejected, as it is by a large proportion of the population when we speak of the need to accept what Jesus has done for each and every one of us who chooses to accept His gift, then we become even more affected by the fear. We need to overcome it.
How many of us will not take a risk to help one of our children or another loved one? We who bear the name of Christ, who call ourselves Christian, should be following His example. He loved the people of this Earth so much that allowed the powers of His day to crucify him, the most horrible death imaginable, so that He could bring about reconciliation between us and God the Father. It is unlikely in the UK that we will be put to death for speaking about Jesus. The worst is likely to be rude words or being asked to be silent. We who bear His name should love the people so much that we do not want them to perish eternally and should offer those who do not yet know Him a lifeline. If we do not the person sat opposite us on the train, or in the next seat on the bus, then who will?
And if the person does not want to accept God’s free gift, that is not our problem. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to work in a person’s heart to convict them of their need for reconciliation to God and of the one Way to be reconciled to God. The response is not our concern. Our concern is simply to communicate the message.
We have the assurance that God is Love. Perfect love casts out fear. So let us accept God’s perfect love and channel it to that person who does not yet know His love that we come into contact with today, by communicating the fact that God loves them. It is not a minister’s job, it is not a bishop’s job, it is not an elder’s job, it is everyone’s job. Let’s all do it.