Questions from the Pulpit.
All Sundays are not created equally. Though our God is ever faithful, steady, and consistent we are not, situations are not, and new opportunities are always presented to the church. Yesterday was a unique Sunday. Our young church has been given a tremendous connection to the Grant Academy community in downtown San Jose, in fact we launched our first service in their cafeteria last week. However, this week the custodian did not show up to let us in the building. So by God’s grace we set up service outside, right next to the street, within range of 300 people enjoying their kids soccer games. This put a new spin on a question I ask every time I preach: who is listening?
I have found it momunentally important and frustratingly difficult to answer this question over the years and yesterday it was an even more complexed question. Usually I scan the audience as I preach and look for signs of attention, passion, curiosity, and other responses. This practices allows me to respond within the confines of the appointed text to the listener’s relationship with the Word being preached. In addition, prior speaking, I attempt to discern the spiritual mosaic of an audience… Are these all Christians? Who here is unconverted? How long has he been a Christian? What is the crisis of her faith right now? and so on.
Yesterday, in God’s providence, this was an impossible task. Due to the location of our service–outside, in full view of the city–the Lord literally removed our ability to understand who was “there”, let alone who was listening. During the service neighbors were coming out of their homes, soccer families were passing by, people walking down the street stopped to listen, and the unknown destinations of our worshipful echoes reverberated through the neighborhood.
Who was listening? I have no idea. Every Sunday God is faithful to give good gifts to his people. This Sunday our gift was ignorance. We had no idea who was listening and it was the truest of blessings.