At a service in August in St Finnian’s, Lochgelly, that many of us attended, Rev Thomas Brauer gave a thought-provoking sermon that made use of three inputs:
- The readings – from Isaiah 58:6–11 (the need for radical action on behalf of the disadvantaged), 1 Corinthians 12:4–14 (the different gifts of the Holy Spirit), and John 15:1–17 (the need to remain in Christ in order to bear fruit)
- The occasion – the licensing of Margaret Dineley as a Lay Reader by Bishop David, our Primus
- The Top Gear television programme!
As so often happens, the illustration is remembered when all the carefully considered theological argument has been forgotten!
Thomas commented on the vital difference that Jeremy Clarkson (another JC!) had made when he joined Top Gear, converting a programme that had appealed only to the eclectic tastes of aficionados into one that met the needs for information and entertainment of a much wider range of people.
Thomas reflects: “The major reason for its global attraction is that the presenters communicate not just the facts of the vehicle they are driving, but how it feels to drive it, and the joy it brings to them as they take it down the road, or around the track. Similarly, we who are ministers (meaning all Christians) are called to show the joy of living the life of Christ, and to reveal how it feels to be in relationship with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is, I suggest, through this communication of joy that others will seek out that joy for themselves, and encounter Christ in their own lives.”
The listener was left to make the connection between the new start we can all make – not just Margaret at the start of her ministry – in the task of serving the community in ways that are relevant and attractive to them, as well as aiming to meet their real needs, being Christ-centred, and using our own talents. As the Contemporary English Version translates 1 Corinthians 12:5–6a: “There are different ways to serve the same Lord, and we can each do different things”. And perhaps the end of the holidays, as we get back into gear for the new session, is the right time for that new start.