Today’s sermon will be a brief one as we today celebrate both Holy Communion and the Commissioning of our Elders, Church Councillors, Pastoral Partners and indeed the whole congregation.
1 Corinthians 3:5-10 & 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
I admit it – I’m a fan of slapstick and absurdist humour!
I love the classics, from the Three Stooges, to the Marx Brothers, to Monty Python’s Flying Circus to the Young Ones and to Fat Pizza.
But I think, my all-time favourite was a BBC radio series from the 1950s and 1960s called ‘The Goon Show’.
Without the aid of visuals one could imagine the scenes via the sound effects and the characters of Neddy C. Goon, Moriarty, Minnie Bannister, Eccles and Major Dennis Bloodnock (Coward with Bar) through the voices of Spike Milligan, Wallace Stott, Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers.
One particular favourite episode was Napoleon’s Piano. In one scene the villains are trying to steal the piano from the Louvre with the intention of sailing it across the Channel back to England.
To do so they have to saw off three legs of the Grand Piano.
We hear the sawing and clunking of four wooden legs and then Eccles says – ‘Hey! I keep falling over’.
And so it is with us, if we do not have all our parts in working order or is something is missing. We keep falling over.
Today we have commissioned our leaders. But we have commissioned everyone because everyone is in some form of leadership in our church – leading in proclaiming Christ to friends, being the first to be in the kitchen to serve others, leading us in music, leading us in prayer, getting up to collect our offering, taking that casserole to someone who is suffering, listening to that person who needs a non-judgmental ear. The list goes on.
The first of our readings from the letter to the Corinthians is on the Common Lectionary set down for this week. It says you and I are God’s church – we are the building – founded on Christ, working together [verse 9]. In another passage we read about the importance of togetherness when we hear that ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand’.
Whether it be Paul, Apollos or Cephas [Peter] or Margaret, Cliff, Lesley, Marion or Robert we are all important and all indivisible.
The famous passage from Chapter 12 reminds us that we are all ministers – all equally important – whether we clear the toilets or preach the Word (or both as it often goes).
Everyone in this room is vital to the mission of God through you – the body of Christ.
We don’t drop off or drop out or retire from doing God’s work. We don’t do it alone, but together – for we are reminded at the end of this passage, ‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it, if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.’
Back to Eccles – Neddy gives him a magic leg restorer called ‘leggo’ and they continue on their way. There is no more falling over – although they have to steer the piano back to England using the piano keys. They once again, find themselves, as we find ourselves, in the same boat.