I’m taking an opportunity to reflect on the bizarre and fun moments I witnessed at Healing on the Streets yesterday, because at the time my brain felt too foggy to process it. Writing it down helps me to better appreciate it – I don’t want to miss the beauty or the significance of what the Lord is doing.
I really didn’t feel like going to HOTS yesterday, to be honest. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been feeling a little lower than of late. I didn’t feel ‘connected’ enough with God. I didn’t feel very ‘spiritual’ or very confident. I didn’t feel like I could radiate joy to the people I was going to be interacting with. But after missing the last one already, I pushed myself to go.
It started out with me feeling pretty awkward, even moreso than the first time I did it. Just wasn’t feeling it. But I sort of followed a couple of other ladies and joined in praying for a few people we passed in the marketplace.
We came back for a half-time regroup and I took a moment to chat with some other church folk, who were collecting item donations from shoppers for the homeless. (They collected a whole trolley full, by the way!)
Then the chaotic part started.
I’m chatting, slightly oblivious to what’s going around me.
Before I realise what’s happening, there’s a crowd of people my own age in the car park, waving bottles of wine around. One of them goes and sits down in the chair and one of the team is about to pray for him.
The crowd are all pretty drunk, rowdy, and, understandably, amused by the fact that their friend is about to get prayed for. But they’re curious, and as the team kneel by guy’s chair to pray, the rest of them also kneel, laughing and fooling around, taking pictures, and I’m just there in the middle of this crowd and other members of the team, in a Sainsbury’s car park, not entirely sure what’s going to happen.
I mean, this is pretty weird.
Anyway, we pray for this guy, and then our pastor says ‘Has anyone got back problems?’ and one guy says ‘yeah, actually, I do’, so he goes to sit in another chair to be prayed for and his friends follow him to watch. His back gets healed (and some others, still a bit drunk and bemused, also get prayed for).
While all this is going on, one girl stays where she is kneeling, rather than following the group, and asks for prayer. So my team member prays for her about all aspects of her life, and I sit with her on the ground. The lady who prayed for her starts telling her about Jesus and sharing her own testimony, and then the girl says she’s interested because:
“When you just prayed I really felt something” and she makes a sweeping motion with her hands.
I tell her what she just felt was the presence of God and that He loves her.
She says, in that typical endearing way that people do when they’ve had a lot to drink:
“Really? Even though I’ve done lots of bad stuff? ‘Cos I’ve done lots of bad things.”
The lady and I say yes, chat a bit more, hug her, give her a leaflet about our church.
I’ll leave it there for the sake of brevity and because it’s difficult to articulate what happened, but after they all left we were kind of bemused ourselves.
It was a bit surreal and yet also so ‘normal’.
All I know is that the Lord is good, and even though it started out awkwardly (at least for me), it was such a blessing to be a small part of what He did with that crowd and what He will continue to do in their lives as He stirs their hearts. It was never about me or how ‘spiritual’ I was feeling. He’s much bigger than all of that.
You know, sometimes in the media I see people encouraging fellow Christians in the UK to ‘start acting like a minority’ in order to make sure we don’t get all our rights taken away. I don’t believe in this victim mentality at all, not least because the negative picture that people often paint does not reflect the whole truth.
Moments like yesterday only cement what I was already convinced of – God cannot be contained or boxed.
As long as His followers let Him show up where He pleases, there will be drunk people getting healed and hearing about Christ in a supermarket car park. To God be the glory.