Curry’s on Fire!
As with any particularly spicy curry there were no neutral responses to the dish served up by the bishop. Some loved it, others hated it. And that is just how the gospel should be. On Sunday afternoon I happened to be in one of our great cathedrals for choral evensong. On Pentecost Sunday the preacher spent his five minutes trying to convince the already convinced that nothing weird was going to happen just because the liturgy made much mention of the Holy Ghost. It was a studied example of insipidness and in stark contrast to what we had witnessed the day before. With readings from Ezekiel 36 and Acts 2 the deliberate neutrality of the service was incongruous. It left me longing for some more fiery Curry.
I’ve been preaching through the book of Acts at Gateway and on Sunday was up to the story of Ananias & Sapphira. It’s a story that troubles people and Luke doesn’t give the answers to the questions that contemporary westerners ask about it. Instead, his point is about what happens next, that: “No one else dared join them…Nevertheless more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number” (Acts 5:13-14).
That’s what the gospel does – it drives people away at the same time as it draws people near. There is nothing lukewarm, insipid or neutral about the gospel. It doesn’t deal in platitudes. Whatever questions I might have about Michael Curry’s theological grid I was grateful that on Saturday the congregation (and nation) was forced to polarised positions – to embrace, mock or reject the fiery love of God. I was glad that some were delighted and others offended. God save us from platitudes. God save us from diffident preaching about indifferent things. God give us some heat: send the fire!