Add a heading THIS IS YOUR CHANCE, GOD….. 

  
It was a crisp November morning. A slight dusting of white, icy frost on the ground as I approached the Sussex village with the old barn of a meeting venue. A pretty village, greenery and oak beams and the smell of history. I remember it well. It was a day that changed my life.

Six days before, on the Sunday, I had been at church in the morning as usual these days. The service was over and I was chatting with friends. Well I say chatting, I was doing my introverted attentive listening while others chatted. I was sufficiently distracted by the conversation that I did not recognise the incoming “clergy swoop”. It is something that we develop over time. An ability to silently move in an arching manoeuvre, settling at someone’s shoulder before they have time to make their escape. It is used when we have a task for someone. It allows us to ask before they can get away.

On this occasion it was Peter, the curate, who was running Alpha. “You did Alpha, didn’t you Doug? You didn’t manage the away day if I remember correctly. We have our next one on Saturday. You should come.”
I hurriedly thought of all the things that I was doing next Saturday which would mean that I could politely decline. Unfortunately, there were none. I said that I would “think about it”. The details were duly shared and I spent the week doing just that. Thinking about how I didn’t want to go. I had enjoyed the course very much. I raced back from Birmingham each Tuesday just to be there. I had moved quite a way from the objectionable “well its all a load of rubbish” position to “but didn’t they say that last week” apologetic against my erstwhile objector colleague. I had moved. But not enough to admit that I had been wrong all these years. “One more day of Alpha surely would make no difference?” , I thought.

But despite much too-ing and fro-ing I did go. It was a great place and a nice bunch of people. Two struck me particularly. A lady called Soo (not Sue) who was a guest on that Alpha course. She welcomed me and we struck up an immediate friendship. The other was a man called Dave. He had been a  professional musician who had played session for Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and many more. I was slightly star struck, I confess. But I was even more struck when he told me that he should be dead – too much drink, drugs and rock and roll and all that entails. He told me that he didn’t go looking for Jesus. He told me that Jesus just stepped in and saved him. And here he was. He glowed in a way that I could not explain. It struck me.
The day ended. I had not “prayed the prayer”. I wasn’t ready. I had been fascinated by the whole day. And that is when I gave God his ultimatum….
In the car park, I sat alone in the dark. In the driver’s seat. Ready to set off for home. But I said. Out loud with no one to hear.
“This is it God, if you are there, if you are real, if you want me. Show me now….”
 
If you want to know what happened….come on the Alpha course or invite someone else to join. It starts online 20th January. You can sign up here  https://christpurley.churchsuite.com/events/9ay08pna

 
Blessings all
Doug
vicar@christchurchpurley.org.uk

PS Think of five friends who do not yet know Jesus.
Pray for them.
Then invite them!
Show them where to sign up