Communication Problems

By Fin Sheridan

I recently added an event in which a politician, who shall remain nameless, was speaking. They were visiting my hometown and I thought it’d be interesting to go along and listen to what they had to say. A quick train ride later and I was there, walking onto a little common, where there were about 75-100 people waiting around.

My brother and I found somewhere close to where we thought the front might be and waited. The crowd grew progressively bigger and before long, we were in the centre of a circle of about 700 people. The speaker arrived and climbed onto a little box. Not a giant platform, just a little box. The crowd murmured with anticipation – this was what they had come for. Now was the moment, the time for the rousing rhetoric and the brave promises. This was their time.

The speaker opened their mouth and began speaking into a megaphone. Stood in the front row, I could hear him perfectly but after a sentence or two, people began yelling from behind us – “Turn the mic up!” “We can’t hear you!” “Speak louder!”.

There was a pause where the speaker conferred with the team and then they announced apologetically “We’re really sorry, this is as loud as the megaphone will go. You’ll just have to bear with us.” The ironic thing was, the crowd couldn’t hear that apology and instead replied with “We can’t hear you!” which was comically sad really. Proceedings continued and, whilst I heard the whole thing, I’m guessing hundreds didn’t.

The search for meaning is universal and we, as Christians, have the answer to the questions that millions of people are asking.”

It got me thinking about communication. The speaker had a message. The crowd were eager to hear it – they were dedicated and hungry to hear what was being said. But that wasn’t enough. The megaphone wasn’t strong enough and so it didn’t matter how loud the speaker spoke or how much the crowd agreed; there was still a communication problem!

We have a message too – the message of the gospel – a message of hope and healing, that the human heart is hungry to hear. The search for meaning is universal and we, as Christians, have the answer to the questions that millions of people are asking. The crowds are there, the fields “white unto harvest”. And yet, somehow, the message doesn’t get through.

It might not be a physical megaphone that is the problem (although sometimes it is…). It might be our fear. It might be our lives that contradict our message. It might be our reluctance to speak. Sometimes “shouting louder” still doesn’t get the message across. Our responsibility, our great privilege, is to share the Gospel and to remove anything and everything that might hinder that proclamation.

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