We want to tell you a story. And if you can stop on your way to wherever and really listen for a while, you might just hear an echo of heaven’s song:

guitar close up

Once upon a time there was a missionary. She was tired and seeking restoration – space to meet with God, a touch of fresh inspiration; things of beauty that would lift her eyes to Beauty himself.

She had travelled to a famous Cathedral city to see friends and was taking the opportunity to soak in its culture, wondering cobbles alone in the sunshine and taking time – even among the crowds – to be alone with God and to breathe.

It was no surprise that she found herself drawn to the Cathedral’s doors. Its spire had beckoned repeatedly as she wove around its surrounding streets. She sensed his presence already of course, but there was a desire to be in his house – to mark all he had been speaking to her about as she wandered and listened.

But she stepped inside the church to crowds queuing to buy tickets. She knew if she found someone, explained who she was and how she was living, they would surely let her in to sit and pray. But she felt reluctant to be an ‘insider’ and push past the queues – or to empty her wallet of money she could barely afford to pay for ten minutes where she was surely more welcome than anywhere else.

So she chose instead to find a patch near the entrance where she could merely look up at the transcendent beauty mirrored by the arches high above her and the pure light streaming in through coloured glass.

But she was still close to the queue to buy tickets and the conversation she heard between two friends waiting there was all about commodities. Where was the next place on the shopping list after the Cathedral? Should they go to the Levis store? God, there were some great jeans there weren’t there. Where exactly was the Urban Outfitters here?

The Cathedral was selling and these people were buying. And although in many ways she was pleased this tourist transaction meant they had entered God’s house – she still left saddened. Surely its own beauty and presence through centuries of history wasn’t the greatest treasure this building could witness to?

She stepped outside and turned the corner. And that was when she heard it. The sound of a sole busker of extraordinary gifting, singing with astonishing beauty and a note of haunting longing.

She sat down on the Cathedral steps – outside the building – and heard what became worship in her heart.

And as she sat there, thisĀ  offering given for free began to draw a bigger a congregation around it, even though perhaps neither the crowd nor the singer knew exactly who the beauty was echoing. Or why they couldn’t resist responding to it.

When she finally left those steps she gladly emptied all the coins she had as she thanked the busker and blessed him with tears pricking her eyes. She was truly thankful. For she left with a gift that day. The moment with God she had been searching for had been provided by a stranger on the streets. And through it another gift had been given… a whispered confirmation of a seed God had previously sown…

That perhaps she could follow Beauty himself into the town centre of another place and sing him to the people there. Perhaps together they could build a Cathedral-without-walls on the street. To create a sound-spire with truth’s song and draw people to it – and to the One whose presence it would resonate with.

And a new, modern-day beatitude beckoned her into its expansive vision. Blessed are the buskers she thought.

It’s time to take his song beyond our walls. Show us how Lord; show us how.

Comments are closed.