I had to go to the Cathedral this morning. I have to go there on a fairly regular basis: often arranging a lift, sometimes going on the bus. Yesterday, when I thought of arranging a lift, I sensed that I should take the bus. So this morning I headed off to the bus-stop, and waited. As I was going straight on from the Cathedral to another meeting and then straight on to a funeral visit, I had my clerical collar on.
There were road works just up ahead, and the traffic was gridlocked. After a while, I driver leant across their car and shouted through their passenger window at me: they were going to Kensington, if that was any good to me? I thanked him for the offer, but explained that I needed to get into the centre of Liverpool (Kensington is not much further on than where we were), so I’d wait for the bus. He replied that it would be a long wait; that he was going to Kensington to pick up his dad to take him in to the hospital in town, and was that any good to me? As he clearly wanted me to get in – not to mention that I was waiting at the bus stop when I would have arranged a lift with a friend, except that I felt prompted not to – I thanked him and got in. (Don’t try this at home, viewers: I am trained in unarmed combat.)
So I met Jason, and sitting in a queue of slow-moving traffic, heard the story of his life. And it was a divinely appointed engagement. We talked about life and God and what part faith had played in his life, and where he was now, and how perhaps his faith was more marginal than it had been. And it wasn’t a confessional, and he wasn’t a prodigal, and I didn’t take advantage of his kindness to manipulate his vulnerability. But our conversation took place in God’s hearing, and at his disposal.
Jesus said, “Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.” (Matthew 10:41)
Heavenly Father, Jason received me today because I am a prophet and a righteous man: in his words, a man of the cloth. I ask that whatever reward I have received and will receive from you, that he would receive no less. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. Amen.