19 years old. Based in the south of
It was joyful being in that bubble. But with it came great responsibility: we were charged with the task of converting the world. Time was short. Jesus was coming back soon. Before that, there would be a final outpouring of the Spirit on ‘this nation’ (people in our bubble liked using phrases like ‘this nation’) which we would help to usher in by preaching very badly on the streets of London, singing tunelessly to two strummed guitars and performing short skits to a succession of passing commuters.
Our humble offerings – like the lad with the few loaves and fishes – would be taken by God and multiplied a hundredfold, even the tuneless singing. Together we were standing against the world. But we had each other, and we were right in the centre of God’s perfect will. We were gonna grab as many souls as possible before God finally declared ‘FINITO’ on this miserable planet and raptured the good ‘uns up to heaven while leaving the bad ‘uns to the bottomless appetite of the slavering hornéd beast – or the head of the Common Market, depending on which Christian paperback you happened to be reading at the time.
Many years later I found myself in Eastbourne (as you do) when a group of local churches were holding a March For Jesus, with banners, gospel tracts and slightly better singing than our efforts in ‘84 – all in the middle of a busy, Saturday-morning shopping centre. Another bubble in action: joyful Christians, marching against the world, reclaiming the
I didn’t join them that morning, but I was curious to see the effects of all their marching, pronouncing, praying and months of preparation. I genuinely wanted to see changed lives on the street, shoppers crying after being overpowered by God’s love, halos miraculously appearing above the heads of traffic wardens.
You know what I saw when I got into town? Business as usual. Tired, stressed shoppers flitting from one consumer experience to another. The only difference to be seen was hundreds of March For Jesus leaflets scattered on the floor, soiled by dirty footprints. Life went on … same as it ever was. I guess I was hoping for another bubble to join, but I knew then, beyond any doubt, that it was over.
Like it or not, I am part of this world, not against it. I am bound up in this common adventure called humanity – ever-evolving as time marches on, as it always has done, year after decade after century. The world doesn’t belong to Satan. It has its good bits and its bad bits, just like I do.
Do I want this world to end? No. Do I want the human race to reach the next stage in human consciousness so that it connects better with God, creation and itself? You bet I do.
But it’s not going to happen if we stay in our bubbles. It might be nice and cosy in there, but all bubbles burst eventually, so why not get it over and done with and join this planet we live on? It’s not as black and white out here … but then I’d rather have colour any day.