Street Preachers in the UK...Fascinating!
I have had the pleasure of hearing several different street preachers in the UK from Bus Preachers in London to Town Cryers in Cardiff, Wales.
London, England--Bus Preacher
First of all...I'm thankful for street preachers. How will people believe without hearing and how will people hear without preachers?
Refreshing as the spring rain...that's the sense of the day when after many wild goose chases over London looking for a transformer, which I didn't even need, a young handsome black man started expressing his love for Jesus on the bus. And not quietly to himself, but loudly for all to hear. His joyful countenance and speech reiterated his love for Jesus..."Yes, people, Jesus! I'm not ashamed to say that name. Jesus. Jesus."
I don't recall his exact phrases, so won't try and repeat them. My eyebrows went up and I glanced over at this striking fellow. Not just his bright yellow jacket made him striking, but his vivacious personality and praise of God.
He asked three young folks in front of him where they'd spend eternity. One bold, short fellow, said, "I'm going to hell."
To this the brilliant young preacher said, "I won't see you there. I know where I'm going and it's not there. You won't have much fun there, it's hot and a place for devils."
Piquing the fellow's interest, he drew closer to the preacher not able to take his eyes off of him and continued to banter with his jokes about going to hell.
Preacher told him to believe in Jesus and he'd go to heaven. He laughed and tried to convince this now coward how to improve his final destination. Cowardice shows by being transfixed to the person talking to you.
God was convicting this young man. The girl started pouring questions left , right, straight on, "How can you be so cocky, so sure about going to heaven? I don't even believe there is a God. My parents made me, not God."
The preacher answered with scriptures and as far as I'm concerned slipped a little when he said over confidently, "I know all things!" Yes, the God in him knows all things and it was like a prophecy, actually, but the young folks pulled him on that one.
"How can you know all things?"
As I recall, preacher wisely pulled back on that one.
I watched the folks on the bus. Their reactions interested me. What did they think of street preachers? How could I help this preacher. How could I convey my interest and acceptance of his preaching? I put on a knowing smile and watched preacher, listening intently.
I knew the folks facing me were watching me. How would I react? They would take cues from me. My mood would influence this bunch. I saw one man looking at me who quickly ducked behind someone's head when he caught me catching him looking at me. Yes, I was well aware of my silent impact on this situation. I tried my best to be very supportive facially by the spirit.
Preacher had to get off. He left with an inspirational word telling the young man to get the celtic cross he wore into his heart and find Jesus.
I wished I could carry on where he left off. I felt cowardly and knew I couldn't, but there was still a part for me to play. I quietly said to the three young adults, "He's right, you know. What he said is true." I don't think everyone heard me, but at least they could sense my affirmation of preacher.
They argued with me, or tried. I'm sometimes not too easy to argue with, either because I back down or don't have the spirit behind it that is needed to spurn on the argument.
"He has no right to tell us that stuff."
"But you need to hear it sometime." I encouraged.
They pulled back and remained silent. I felt a failure. Too quiet, too withdrawn, not combative enough. I prayed.
Coming close to my stop, as now the bus was empty except for the three and me, I said, or asked, "This is Hackney?"
The girl snapped back, "Oh it is? That's nice."
"No, I'm asking," said I.
When they sensed my real need, they quickly responded with, "Yes, this is Hackney."
I asked when my stop would come. They jumped at the chance to help me. The young convicted man ran and checked the stop name and quickly told me..."Yes, this is your stop."
I fumbled, going too quickly to the door. They cautioned me to wait. The door didn't open. They directed me to another one.
I think I gave them some parting comment but I really don't remember. I hope I did. "God save those young, hungry, hard, scared young people. Call them and let them find You."
Cardiff, Wales--Street Crier
Frankly, Cardiff scared me. I felt totally self-conscious there. It seemed almost totally overrun my gangs or snappy, snippy, foul-mouth young people. At least that's who "come out of the cracks" as night falls.
So, I wasn't surprised when walking on the mall I heard a faint, "Jesus is coming back. Repent and come to Jesus."
I looked around and saw a small smartly dressed black man in a hat walking around and it almost appeared like he was crazy and talking to himself. He didn't talk loud, only a continual steady stream of "Repent and come to Jesus. Jesus is the light of the world. Don't walk in darkness. Come to Jesus."
What should one do when they hear street preachers? How can one encourage them? Stop them and tell them you agree? Stand and listen intently, hoping others will join in?
I don't know the answers to that question. One must follow the Holy Spirit at these times. I let him pass. I prayed, hoping that someone would hear and be quickened to change. It reminded me so much of the days of Noah...people shopping, carrying on, totally filled with themselves and not caring or knowing that God has a judgment day and all must answer to Him.
Next day at the bus station, I heard the familiar voice, only louder, again. Yes, the same man, dressed in this houndstooth checked suit jacket and hat. This time he had a megaphone, a yellow megaphone. He poked his head in every door, every bus, and made sure every man, woman and beast heard his message. Once he made sure, all had heard he carried on down the street.
Again, I'm glad for street preachers. It's their gift. Maybe not yours or mine, but theirs. Let them preach. I envy street preachers boldness, their unashamedness in proclaiming the name of Jesus and his truth.
The world needs street preachers. They won't come to church to hear. How will they hear? Unless God sends someone to tell them?
Derby, England--Street Preachers
It happened as I was sitting in the waterfall area and eating my orange, a very dry orange. I heard this shouting. It kept up. I thought some salesman was selling wares, but no salesmen sell wares like that anymore on the street, only in the near-by market. I was so used to hearing people crying out things for sale in the large Derby market that I thought it was that.
The rhythmic sound continued, on and on and on. Then I realized....Yes, someone was preaching nearby. As I craned my neck to look around and find the street preachers, I spotted a man waving the bible and preaching to passerbys. An accompaniment was with him for support, I suppose. The man kept preaching, people kept walking by, paying no heed. It went on some time. As I considered what to do: Go and stand and listen, maybe a crowd would gather, go and encourage him, what else could I do? I realized, I should probably pray and finish my orange, the dry orange. Maybe the dry orange is a picture of the people with dry hearts.
Apparently, for some reason, the street preachers moved on after only a short time. I hoped they would stay a long time...maybe I could somehow get involved with the process. I did get involved. I prayed and Jesus need intercessors too. We all have a part to play. My inner spirit was perked into praying more for Derby. Derby needs prayer. All cities need prayer. Jesus is coming soon, even if not literally, everyone is meeting their day of death and need to be ready. Jesus, save Derby, save the U.K. and thank you for sending street preachers.
Belfast , North Ireland--Tract Hander-Outers and Peachers
Belfast Handing out Tracts
Now here, finally, I have a few photos. It was a drizzly day in Belfast on a busy Saturday afternoon that I crossed a street preacher's path. I stood and listened, while the world passed by, trying to pretend not to hear him. "Don't forget God. Put Him first in your life. Things can't satisfy. Only Jesus can bring true peace."
Belfast Crowd around Street Preachers
I thought he was very courageous especially when no one stopped to listen. I had just spent three hours at a Seventh day Adventist church service, which I enjoyed for the most part. The foot washing was nice. So preaching was on my mind, I guess, after just having heard some in church.
Handing Tracts in Belfast--Street Preachers
Then I spotted a man handing out tracts and talked with him. Were the street preachers together? No, but standing in near vicinity to one another.
Coming back later on across the same street there was another preacher with a sophisticated speaker system, large sign, and support team handing out tracts. I enjoyed talking with them for awhile. The man I talked with was informative about the history of Belfast's conflicts, pointing to the crisis area only blocks away and explaining that the Union Jack above the court house proves that Northern Ireland is still with Britain.
Belfast Street Preachers
He encouraged me to go there on a tour and see the Belfast murals that are now painted on the walls.
Interesting that in this same area, where sin abounded, now grace much more abounded.
Street Preachers in Belfast
While I was in the church that morning, I had a vision for Belfast, of a mountain rising up in its midst, very large and all encompassing. I pondered what it could mean...a volcano of judgment? No, I was quickened as the Sunday School teacher mentioned something about Mt. Zion, that, yes, it was Mt. Zion rising up strong in Belfast. I believe that Jesus will reign supreme in Belfast.
And thank you, God, for street preachers!
Go to Kari's main page after reading about her encounters with Street Preachers in the UK.