No. 12 - 30th October 2016

I went shopping in Eastbourne this week and parked in the Arndale Centre car park. When I had finished my shopping, I fed my parking ticket into the machine and the machine rejected it. I tried the other machine but the same thing happened. So I called the Attendant on the intercom and he said, “I’ll be with you right away”. As it happens, there was another man waiting there who had been told the same thing. After we’d been hanging around for nearly ten minutes, I buzzed the Attendant again and said “Are you coming here to the machine or down at the gate?” “At the gate” he replied. Well, if he’d communicated properly in the first place, it would have saved us both a lot of frustration. Anyway, that got me thinking about communication, or should I say the lack of it.

There was once a man called Saul who had one ambition in life, and that was to stamp out a new heresy called “The Way”. These people were all followers of a man called Jesus, and Saul was travelling around the country, gathering them up and throwing them into prison or even getting them stoned to death as heretics. He was on his way up to Syria, to see who he could find there, when on the road to Damascus he was suddenly surrounded by a bright light and out of nowhere, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked, and the voice replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” Now, if Jesus was willing to speak to Saul, then he’ll speak to anyone – including me.

There used to be a saying that when you speak to God, it’s called prayer. But when God speaks to you, it’s called schizophrenia. Well, there was nothing schizophrenic about Saul, or Paul as he came to be known. He became one of the greatest Christians that ever lived.

I suspect that not many of us hear an audible voice when God speaks. The thing is, God is Spirit, so his natural way of communicating would be with my spirit, and from there up into my consciousness. It usually comes in the form of an awareness that God has spoken. As the book title puts it, “He is there, and He is not silent”. So, if I can’t hear him, it’s either because I’m not listening, or worse still, because I don’t want to hear him. I don’t actually want to hear what God is saying to me – and that’s frightening.

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