Saturday, 25 August 2018

Getting Real!

The Summer weeks gave Gabrielle and I the opportunity to attend the theatre for the first time in many years and we were struck by what we have been missing.   There is something about a ‘live’ performance, more immediate, more engaging, more personal than anything we see on a screen.  And I say that as a lifelong movie fan! 

Watching the actors living their parts, giving everything to their performance, I was reminded of the bishop who was deeply moved by an actor’s performance.  In meeting him afterwards the bishop asked him why actors seem to have no difficulty making an impression on their audiences while preachers frequently leave them cold.   The actor replied:  ‘Actors speak of things imaginary as if they were real, you preachers too often speak of things real as if they were imaginary.’ 

Ouch!  Everyone who is called to preach God’s Word should take note.  But really this is a challenge to every Christian.  In the way we live our faith, in the way we share our faith does the world experience this as ‘real’?   Are the truths rooted in our lives bearing fruit, shaping our attitudes, clarifying our priorities, enabling us to be the light of the world as Jesus longs for us?  

None of us can be entirely comfortable in the face of this challenge but there is a way forward pioneered by the Apostle Paul.   He was deeply aware that as a Christian he was not the finished article but he held fast to the belief that in the course of his life no matter the circumstances he could grow closer to Jesus and live his life more fully in his ways.   He once wrote:

‘I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.’  (Philippians 3: 10-11)

Paul is not just speaking to an early Christian community.  He sets this aspiration before every Christian community in every generation.  This is the way for us all to ‘get real’ about our faith.