Just recently there has been a newspaper article published in our local rag that painted the outreach in Elizabeth Mall as the cause of arguments, noise and loss of business. Myself and the team were also painted as disingenuous hucksters only out to manipulate people. Mr S., the SSM protesters and the local shop owners were painted as angelic figures that were either "silently protesting" our outreach or the victims of our malicious actions. On reading this I shrugged my shoulders and began to pray and urged others to do likewise as we continued to work for good whilst painted as evil. Following the article, though it will never reach the newspapers, God provided this week a clear refutation of this biased nonsense.
As I said in my last post the Hobart team has faced a lot of aggression and noise from SSM supporters and from Mr S. (we're still praying for both sets of you guys!). Whilst this was going on it was tempting to think that there was something to the accusation that we were the "troublers of Israel" as such. There was a lot of nasty interactions and it certainly was quite noisy some days, with even local buskers getting into the act with drums and banjo's to boot.
Yet this last week there has been almost no SSM protesters (barring two girls who thought destroying my sign was a good pass time), and Mr S. has been absent. During two afternoons there were three preachers at work, and seven to eight Christians supporting them in prayer and conversations. Yet there were no angry exchanges whilst preaching was happening or afterwards, no violent outbursts from the Christians, Muslims or Sikhs that stopped by to listen and chat. There was none of the previous weeks of angst and outrage. There were great conversations and frequent occasions where we urged others to repent of sin and trust in Jesus. There was preaching the peace-making gospel of faith by grace in Jesus Christ our great God and Saviour. There were even bibles given out to people who asked for a copy.
As I said this is unlikely to make the papers, peace and godliness don't make good copy... But it certainly encouraged me to not that the negative commentary of the secular press is baseless when examined in practice. There is also encouragement in that shining the light of Christ in the dark of Australia's streets is being reviled. The God-haters of every age have reviled those publicly preaching the word of God, why should now be any different?
Praise be to God who sits enthroned on high! Holy, Holy, Holy are you, your glory is over all the earth!