24. Come and See

‘Purposing Change’ Meditations: 24. Come and See

Jn 1:46 Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.”

I believe that sometimes, with a project of faith like the one we are embarking on, we need to enlarge the panorama of our understanding, not only about what is happening but also about what is possible. I am sure there are probably multitudes of wives (for it is usually this way round) who have invited their husbands along ‘to church’ and been rebuffed, but merely because you might have done it a dozen times with no result, in a day when God is moving, who knows but the thirteenth time might be the fruitful one.

The trouble is when life just goes on unchanging, it is very difficult to think that tomorrow might be different. At the mundane level I have noticed this with the unpredictable and normally changeable British weather. I noted when we have had two weeks of clouds and rain, it is very difficult to think, “Tomorrow the sun will shine.” And then it does. We had some friends who moved into a new street and could not get any response to their greetings from one of their next door neighbours. This went on for ten years! The woman in particular just appeared totally antisocial, and virtually ignored my friends whenever they saw them out front of the house, and then one day, without any warning, she was out front when one of my friends happened to be leaving the house and she turned to my friend with a big smile and just started talking. I have no idea what caused the change but change there was – with absolutely no warning! The door of her heart was now open!

Whether it is change of circumstances, change of health, something they have seen on TV or read in a book or paper, sometimes people can change completely without any warning. This is not to say they immediately open up to Christ, but they may open the channels of communication as a first step. The thing is that more often than not, we have no warning that it is about to happen so, like my friends, you have to keep on smiling and being there for them, until the Holy Spirit can bring the opening up.

When a conversation does open up about Jesus, sometimes the wise approach is not to try to convince by argument but simply say, “Come and see.” Encourage them to experiment – maybe with an Alpha course, maybe just ‘coming to church’. We know a man, a husband of a wife who had recently come to the Lord, who was as anti and antagonistic as you can be.  However, clearly with the Lord’s hidden nudging, he came to church and said he would give it a try for six weeks and if nothing – that it would be it! However, on Sunday one of our young women went out front with an open prophetic word which convicted him, he went to the back and was lead to the Lord. Who knows what the Lord might do for your not-yet-a-believer in such a situation? If our church services are open to the Holy Spirit, who knows what He might want to do and say.

Sometimes our partners are just fearful of what might be expected of them, fearful of not being able to sing, fearful of weird people called Christians – we’ve all heard of those freaky characters turning up on the front door step with big black bibles in their hands and a batch of bible verses to hit you with! Sometimes – and this is not diluting the power of the Gospel – it is a useful strategy to put on some ‘non-religious’ event ‘in the church’. 

My present church, prior to the Pandemic shutdowns of 2020 and 2021 were brilliant at this sort of thing. Entirely non-threatening events from the Christmas Bazaar (which I hate), through to art exhibitions, music evenings, barbecues at Halloween, and so on. These should be no substitute for proper times of sharing the Gospel etc. but they may on occasion be helpful in starting to take down some of the fear barriers our family, friends etc. may have. “Come and see” is the invitation for Alpha’s, special Sundays, barbecues etc. In a previous church we used Remembrance Sunday in November, to remember all loved ones who had passed on, and allowed people to light candles etc. for them, possibly one of the most moving services we’ve ever held – and not-yet-believers appreciate such times as well and can have their hearts really opened up by the Lord. The scope for “Come and See” is as big as we will pray and think.  

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