Sunday, 24 March 2013

Carrubbers Christian Centre

Evening service, 6.30pm Sunday 24th March 2013
Led by Dave Hampton
Sermon by Associate Pastor, Rev David Anderson

This wasn’t the church I meant to go to today, but having misread a website and planned to go to a service that wasn’t actually taking place, I needed to find a substitute at the last minute. As it turned out, Carrubbers were holding a special service for guests, as the nice couple sitting behind me explained.

It was less cringe-makingly trendy than I’d been expecting – no swaying hands or jumping up and down, but lots of vigorous and well-rehearsed music (maybe a wee bit heavy on the drums) to jazz up the old chestnut How Great Thou Art, a very singable setting of Psalm 23 and the not-quite-so-old chestnut How Deep the Father’s Love for Us. We were also treated to two more songs in similar style by the band and choir of four, so a general thumbs-up for the music.

Dave Hampton, who works for Christians in Sport, invited a student triathlete called Declan up on to the dais to share his testimony about how God has changed his life. Declan described the resurrection as “kind of a big deal”, which must count as the understatement of two millennia. Then there was a reading from Mark 15: 21-47, and then it was over to David Anderson for the sermon, concentrating on verses 42 to 47, part of a series on “following Jesus to the Cross”.

Anderson’s sermon was accompanied by lots of physical movement. Remember those scenes in Minority Report where Tom Cruise pushed and pulled at the images on the big screen with sweeping gestures? A bit like that. I’d lay odds the next generation of iPads will allow us to do something similar on a smaller scale, but that’s by the by.

The sermon was a bit of a muddle. Usually I can summarise a sermon in a paragraph, but this one was all over the place. Luckily for those who are interested, Carrubbers sermons are all available online for anyone who really wants to check the logical progression from Joseph of Arimathea’s act of charity in burying Jesus to why we should hate our lives in this world and be prepared to die so that we can live eternally like the seed that must die before it can grow (John 12:24).

But I’ve missed out one important detail. Right at the outset, Dave Hampton showed us a video a bit like this one, only not this exact one but a sequel that I couldn’t find online, and nor could I find out who made it/them. Clever stuff, though. I particularly like the Pharisee’s hash-tag #unfollowJesus.

The one we watched was about how a tweeter called @mark_writer puts together the gospel afterwards, asking Peter for some eye-witness accounts and trying to answer the question “Who do you say I am?”, drawing on the opinions of the Centurion and others. If you’ve ever compared the synoptic gospels and wondered about the inconsistencies between them, imagine asking three contemporary writers to compile accounts of an event based on tweets and news clips. Oh yes, and tell them to wait at least thirty years before they tackle the project, to write it in a language other than that spoken by any of the original witnesses, and then to throw away all early drafts and original source material. Now if you think about the gospels as the end product of a lost 1st century wiki written by fans and critics, it sort of makes sense.

Sort of!

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