Unmute the muted!
As a Zoom host I have the power to silence people and, if they refuse to be muted, I can dismiss them to a waiting room until they calm down. What power!
Such power is disturbing though because it can be evident in daily life as people have their voice taken away and they are denied the opportunity to tell their story.
I can imagine voices in support of Jesus being muted by the political and religious leaders who wanted him silenced and if they argued would be punished for daring to challenge authority! The waiting room is full of silent people behind locked doors not knowing what to do, but Jesus breaks into their presence and invites them to understand the truth so that they can go and tell their story to the world. “We’ve seen the wounds of the resurrected Jesus and we believe in the power of God!” That is a message that should not be muted!
Nick Stanyon, the Synod Evangelist, encouraged us to unmute ourselves yesterday to share the good news, but we must also recognise how people have been muted in the past and silently sit in the waiting room, too frightened to break out. History has a lot to answer for as big boys have been taught that they don’t cry and ‘must man up’; that marriage is for life and women have tolerated unbelievable abuse with nowhere to turn to and children have been expected to be seen and not heard so cries of neglect have been unheard. Voices have been muted by the attitude of society. The mute button has been in the hand of the powerful, but with the power of God the muted are beginning to shout.
Black history has been muted by racist attitudes for so long; gay rights had been denied, mental health had been a taboo for years and religion is muted in schools, hospitals, work places and politics. Speak too loudly and you will be evicted to the waiting room until you have calmed down and submit to the power of authority. I am concerned that leaders have used power to control rather than enable and this has disabled the ministry of the Church. So many voices had been muted in the past and it is taking time for people to have the confidence to unmute themselves. When big boys can’t cry or when there is no escape from abuse for women and they can’t unmute themselves life can be too much to bear.
When leaders, teachers and preachers have told people the answers without hearing the questions the ministry has been disabled, but when questions can be asked and heard conversations begin and people’s faith is enabled to grow. When Jesus says that “whoever listens to you listens to me” means that everyone should listen to each other, teachers and students; leaders and followers; preachers and congregations because the key to hearing the good news is COMMUNICATION.
My interpretation of evangelism is, “to communicate the gospel to the world in such a way that the Risen Christ can be seen and heard today so that people can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit enabling them to reach out with the Love of God to all nations regardless of faith or culture!” Telling people all the answers without knowing the questions will disable the ministry of the church, but asking the questions and listening to the answers is a conversation that will enable people to grow. How are you COMMUNICATING the love of God to your neighbours? Don’t tell them what you think without asking them how they feel! Asking a question can be the start of a conversation that is a step toward healing; giving the answer will end the conversation and become the beginning of a battle. If we UNMUTE the MUTED the voice of God will be heard louder and clearer!
I was pleased that Nick Stanyon saw the significance of the figures sat on the church seats yesterday. They represent the names of people who can’t be with us in Church, but are present in our thoughts, hearts and prayers. If you want to write a name to be remembered in Church please do and give one of the figures an identity!
If you are planning attend the celebration of Shirley Caddy’s life on Wednesday please let me know so that I can make a seating plan. The service is at 1pm in Church and don’t forget that Shirley asked for people to wear cheerful bright clothes, not black. She said that she doesn’t want it to be a sad occasion and in her own notes: “As far as I am concerned I regard it as a graduation and who is sad at such an occasion. I have qualified for some other work and I am off to another place to start a new job!” What a wonderful way to celebrate life on earth and consider a new beginning in heaven!
Charlotte has been on our prayer list recently and she sends a very special thank you for our prayers following the birth of Caleb Isaac who was born a month early weighing 5 pounds 10 oz. His birth has brought a lot of joy and calm to the family at last. Diane is busy on granny duties, but also says thank you for the thoughts and prayer. Charlotte says that “it really has helped knowing that so many people care and sends her love.” Please continue to PRAY for Caleb, Edison, Charlotte and the family.
Please pray for a woman who has lost her husband who took his own life and that Dominique will be given the strength and wisdom to provide the loving support.
Prayers for Naomi, Tom and Janet, Susan, Pam, Michael Eden, and the many who need prayer but don’t want to be on a list.