Subway Prophet

…and the words of the prophets were written on the subway walls…

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Micro Mission: Just a Stranger On a Bus

This is the end of reading week here at Cranmer/WSC and so one would think that I would have had a lot of time to write another blog post. Well I have started several (including a Little Wesley update!), but alas, they are not print ready yet…So, I thought I would share an assignment we did several weeks ago for my Mission class. In the class we are talking about what it means to be in mission and to be a missionally minded people. This topic is one of the main reasons why I wanted to study here because the way the Church in England (both Methodist and Anglican) is thinking about mission is very exciting! The assignment was to go out for an hour an half during class time on a “Micro-Mission” and “proclaim the Kingdom of God however you feel led.” It was a daunting task, but this is the reflection I wrote about it. You can see other people’s experiences here.

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
-Joan Osborne

Mark and I by a bus stop.

One of the fundamental ideas of mission is that you don’t bring God into a situation, but that God is already working out in the world around us, and that by going out we seek to participate in that work. The question becomes how do we do that? For Mark and myself this proved to be a complicated question. We wanted to go somewhere we would have real conversations with people, but also someplace where we could break though the walls that people build up around themselves. Walls which insulate people from the world around them.

In order to do this, we decided to just get on a city bus and talk to people. It was a simple concept, but one which was a strange concept to many people who we told it to. This was not a sneaky way of trying to turn the conversation to Jesus. There was no ulterior motive. We were people of faith, we are training to be an Anglican vicar and a Methodist minister, that is who we are, and we were not going to hide it. But, the point of the mission was to talk to people, to hear about their lives, not to impose our own agenda.

So, on the day of our mission we went up the Cathedral, seeing no one on the bus, we walked down the streets of Durham greeting random people along the way until we found a suitable bus stop (the first one we came to). When the bus pulled up we explained to the driver that we wanted a ticket to the end of the line. He was not quite sure what to do with two guys who had no particular destination in mind, but he gave us our tickets and we sat down.

Over the course of our bus ride we greeted many different people. Some were eager to talk about their pets, to tell stories of their connection to St. Johns, or one woman who had been waiting to see the cathedral for 80 years. These however were the exception. Often we greeted a pair of headphones, a vacant stare, or the back of a person’s head. When there was no one to talk with, we prayed. We prayed for people even though they didn’t know it.

When the bus finally brought us back to our stop and we had to get off the question was left in our minds. Where was God? Was God in our greetings? Was God in the rejection? Was God in the people we missed? I think the answer to it all is yes. God was on the bus, off the bus, and in all places trying help us all find our way home. And, for that hour and half, both of us were just along for the ride.

-Drew and Mark