When I grow old I would like to be like the Bishop who led our confirmation service last night – full of faith and passion to communicate it to those who gathered on a wet Thursday night at Hodge Hill Church! I was his deacon – his little helper – for the evening and he was so gracious with me even though it was very much one of my hit and hope occasions where I didn’t fully know what I was doing but tried my best!
If you read this blog regularly you will know that I love metaphors and the Bishop’s sermon last night was about a lion and a lamb complete with taped real life lions and lambs roaring and baaing! This linked to a reading from Revelation 5 which talks about the Lion of Judah and the lamb who was slain. What was left in my memory though were the posters he bought with him which stood each side of the communion table – lamb to self, lion to others. The first statement is a message I need to hear again and again – when things go wrong or I make mistakes or I disappoint my self then treating myself with the gentleness, playfulness inherent in the image of a lamb is so much more helpful to me. The image too of Jesus the shepherd coming after me when I get a little lost has always been one that has comforted me (Luke 15.1-7). When I think of a lion to others I think about God’s desire to see the weak protected, his compassion for the poor and the way that Jesus defended the rights of those who were unable to do so themselves and sometimes it needs the courage and ferocity of a lion to fight alongside and where necessary on behalf of those who need it. This may have nothing to do with what the Bishop actually preached but as with all good metaphors we take them and play with them and they mediate meaning to us!