Updated: Apr 13, 2020
One afternoon I joined an OM team in New Street Birmingham. Each week they have a book table and invite people to come and look at the books and hope to get into conversations with them. Some hand out tracts. One of our team members when I asked if I could come and paint alongside them to engage with people, responded with “I would rather have one good conversation than hand out 100 tracts”. So never having done this before I took a deep breath and set out to paint. I actually had the thought, “Who do you think you are painting live in the middle of New Street?” However, one Muslim gentleman came to look at the painting and even put some colour on the canvas. I asked if he was a good Muslim, and looking a bit bemused I asked if he reads the Injil. He didn’t know what that was. I called over our team member and what ensued was a really good conversation for 30 or 40 minutes. The conversations were really good as I could talk to the people as they painted on my board. What emerged in the end was a beautiful picture as one man came and put in the shadowy figures.
Looking at the people in the streets of the towns and cities I go to and even in my own town I see people who look lost and directionless. More and more homeless, more and more begging for small amounts. I feel helpless at times and wish there were more that I could do. If only we could see inside each person and then minister to their real needs. How do they think, feel, move and have their being?
Maybe my next public board shouldn't be hope but called reality, and invite people to paint their reality. Then point them to the one who is the way the truth and the life - and that is true reality.