Wild, Conversations and the Cross

The President took the podium and told the congregation how he knows a man who carves him wooden crosses out of old pews. What does he do with all those crosses?  The Rev Steve Wild, President of the UK Methodist Church, continued to tell of the countless opportunities where at the conclusion of a Jesus conversation he gives the cross away, reminding the listener to seek the Lord.


Do I have what it takes? 
For many who listen to Steve, a question is raised in our hearts.  Could I do that?  Would I have the courage?  Away from reactions of fear and the over-confidence of would-be evangelists, and in the silence of prayer, the question burrows itself deep into the disciple’s heart. Questioning, seeking a reaction, a conclusion to its inquiry.  It would be easier to dismiss it or allow the question to be overshadowed and stilled by other pressing demands on our life.

No I couldn’t! To say ‘no’ feels wrong somehow to me. It feels at some level similar perhaps to saying ‘no’ to God.  The same God who may well have called others to speak to you about Jesus, just as you and I are now being asked to speak of him in return, paying forward the blessing we have received of Godly love.

Yes I Can! However to say ‘yes’; gosh, that seems way out of the comfort zone.  To say ‘yes’ means putting your head above a spiritual parapet, risking ridicule or worse, apathy or complete disinterest.  Saying ‘yes’ may be scary, yet for some it may be exciting.  You do not know what’s to come. You are in uncharted waters, like those first sailors who traversed the globe discovering new countries and civilisations, using their skill with the sextant and knowing the position of the sun, moon and stars. Uncharted waters can be exciting, thrilling and also a teaching moment.

There is something to be said for the first faith encounter.  You must trust the one who authored this encounter, who will be speaking through you to the person in front of you. In this moment you become God’s ambassador so be careful with your words, words that should be seasoned with Godly grace and love as well as forgiveness for any ignorant and offensive comments that might come your way. Just as for the sailor, where the sextant was key, for you and I it is the Holy Spirit who must lead us and guide us in those encounters.

It’s Not Just About The Cross
In the faith conversation and offering the cross, Steve is doing something quite clever.  He is offering something to someone, after having already connected with them. They can always say ‘no’ and there is no harm done… everyone saves face.  In saying ‘yes’ to the cross however, the door is opened to a deepening conversation. But the offering of the cross is much cleverer than that. For the recipient it is something to reflect on or with… to hold…to find amongst the loose change and old receipts of life… to be reminded of a conversation you once had with an evangelist called Steve Wild about his faith in Jesus, which might become part of your story.

I am getting ahead of myself because there is a third response to the nagging question that has burrowed into the listener’s heart… the ‘could I?’ question.  Perhaps the answer might be ‘maybe’. ‘Maybe I will share my faith’.  ‘Maybe’ is a neat halfway house.  Some will say it is sitting on the fence, but they are usually the ones who have already said ‘yes’.

Err, maybe I would give a cross… However ‘maybe’ opens up the possibility of something happening. If the timing was right and the invitation was there, maybe I might be willing to say, ‘Yes, I am a Christian’; ‘Yes, I go to church’.

Which is it for you?  No, maybe or yes?  We could share faith, perhaps not like Steve, but we are all children of the living God, brought up in his image and in his strength we serve, we share and we offer hope to others in ways that he has equipped us to do.

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