Why are our leaders

not at all like the apostles?

Last Sunday's sermon at St John's was about the 12 apostles, and briefly touched on their career. All but one came to a pretty sticky end but there was something else that they all had in common. They were all controvertial.

It is too simple to say that they were like Christ's sheep. None of them was like a sheep, timid and blindly following. The Church of England is controlled by the Laity, which is fine in principle, but not very practical when the ones who have achieved power are pitifully ignorant of ecclesiastical matters. What do some people take away with them from the sermon?

Perhaps they believe that they should behave like sheep and become uncritical, blind followers. There is a distinct likelihood of this if the laity are drawn from the ranks of civil servants and bookkeepers and professionals, not well known for their adventurous spirit. The apostles were made of sterner stuff, their crucifixions alone are testament to that.

So it is a little disappointing that the laity who have snatched power from the clergy have little or no vision. I can see no one at my church who has the vision to forge new policies such as those envisioned by the apostles. In the teeth of bitter opposition from Rome, they steadily built up a faith that was to overwhelm the known world.

Where was the dithering Parish Council then? The word controversial is aimed like a dagger at the heart of a parishioner who might think in the same way as the apostles. When the service was offered without the Eucharist, the Eucharist being offered a half hour later, I wondered why the vast majority still turned up for the service and only the service.

What did the service really have to offer that made it so popular? I thought about the church. It is wonderful fabric, but there were not churchs as we know them for hundreds of years. During the Churchís swift and remorseless growth it managed without any fabric to speak of, so it canít be that. I thought about the electric organ but the same goes for that. How about the stained glass windows, but they were not available to counter the wrath of Rome? In any event I asked a prominent member of the parish and he avoided the question by saying that they were jolly useful for spreading the word when people could not read or write.

It remains a mystery. The images of the apostles look more like rogues than anything else, though where we got their features from I cannot guess.

From this quote it would seem that James and John were quite a handful. The image of Christ giving instruction to his apostles seems formidable.

The laity donít want to step out of line lest they are thought "controversialĒ. The laity should have more to think about than keeping oneís head down and colouring themselves grey.

I confess that there are times in the service when I want to applaud, but the greater part of the congregation would think it outrageous. I am not a fan of sing along churches; it is just that some things are worth being recognised.

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