My husband just walked in the door with a huge grin on his face. He’s come home from facilitating Fresh Start Community, a weekly gathering of a rag-tag bunch of misfits on their journey towards maturity and unity in Christ. They come from all walks of life – many of them are in recovery from substance addiction, some are covered in prison tattoos, others are gentle grandmothers who come each week to love and be gracious. He always comes home refreshed and inspired.
Today he’s smiling because he’s so blown away by how God speaks through the most unexpected people. A young woman has been coming for a few weeks, and has been very quiet. Sometimes she sits on the outskirts of the circle, playing with the toddler of a single mum. Her own children are in care, while she takes part in a recovery program to overcome the years of drug use, prostitution and crime. During the meeting this morning, when the group were discussing Scripture together, this particular woman spoke up. Her words triggered deeper sharing and insights from others in the circle. Kevin-Neil says it was like the Holy Spirit was in the room. There was a power present, and a number of people commented on it afterwards.
Kevin-Neil is convinced that God loves to speak through the least of these. In a room full of people, it is often the most downtrodden, the most marginalised, the most overlooked person who has the deepest insight into God’s heart for the last, the least and the lost. This is why pastors need to talk less and listen more. This is why we should use our opportunities to lift up and empower others, rather than holding onto the pulpit, the stage and the microphone.
The voiceless have a voice – but the rest of us need to learn how to shut up and listen. We might just hear God speaking to us through those who are often unseen and unheard.