"Alright Ray you and me outside" I hear myself saying looking at the snorting contorted alcohol consumed face. I whip my glasses off. This was going to be it. The faces of my Mid Week Worship congregation looked on bemused.
Ray’s abuse had been extreme - now it was time to sort it out in a language he could understand. I march out to the car park Ray’s fumes and fuming following me. We stand eyeball to eyeball "alright Ray go on then…you’ve been saying you are going to put me on my back for months… well C’MON THEN… C’MON". In the corner of my eye a row of elderly saints looking at the scene. An alcoholic of Olympian stature squaring up to their minister seemingly employing extreme incarnational communication!
I stick my chin out and wait for the drunken onslaught - I look into his yellowed eyes watching him trying to take in what was happening. Stale beer almost intoxicating. He moves in closer and whispers menacingly "F**k….. off" Then he did!
I breathe out nothing but relief, as do the wide eyes and mouths at the window as we all watch him lurch out of the gate to find someone else to bully.
That was Thursday. Now Sunday with the memory still fresh in my mind, I pull into the car park having dropped people home in the mini-bus - my stomach sinks, my legs feel weaker – there stood with Kate is Ray. Kate comes to the drivers window, "Ray’s been evicted he needs help moving.."
"You…are…joking!" If there was anyone didn’t deserve help - it was Ray. My mind is a cocktail of emotion and thoughts - I strategically walk the long way around the minibus gathering as much adrenaline as possible to tell him "NO WAY".
I didn’t get far when with clarity I heard a voice within – "you don’t deserve it either".
I sigh and smile "C’mon Ray lets go….!"