I have decided not to write about the theme of Sunday’s service (Nov 8). If you are just a tiny bit curious it will be that bit in Matthew that talks about five wise and five foolish virgins. It’s not a favourite of mine and actually I suspect what I intend saying would not find favour with Matthew.
At the end of the readings we say:
“For the Word in scripture, for the Word among us, for the Word within us, we give thanks.”
We recognise the Word in scripture because that’s what happens in church services. It could be said that we recognise the Word among us with our secular reading and what we do as a community (which could be identified with what we will read and hear associated with our AGM), but we don’t make much specifically of the Word that is within us.
It occurs to me that is incongruous. Like all parish ministers, and actually everyone who welcomes the privilege of getting very close to people I have observed time and time again what I believe to be “The Word within us”.
So if I get asked to take another service and it isn’t on a Christian “high day” then I am thinking of illustrating “The Word within us” by talking about interesting experiences I had of a few of those special people in my parishes. Just as we get glimpses of different aspects of the “Word” in our Christian scriptures so I get different and I believe inspiring glimpses of “the Word” in those observations of mine.
This isn’t just an easy way out when I will be wondering what to say in the next service (but it will be easier than wondering what to say about those ten virgins), but if I had one aim when I was an active minister, it was to free up my people to honestly think for themselves. Telling these stories in their human variety will hopefully go a little way to show that we don’t have to fit a pattern, but to be our unique selves. The Word in all its variety of expression is within us – Really!
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