The diversity of the one

Sermon preached at St Michael’s Church, Clifton, Bristol, 13 July 1997

[Apologies for the sporadic updating of this blog – work being carried on at my house has disrupted my home office facilities. – SJC]

When my boys were small, my brother and I used to make films with them. Recently he sent me a video copy of the old days, called Turn Back the Years. Very odd it is to see how we were then. And this reminds me, if you turn back your years, can you remember a school group photograph? There you were, all lined up in rows, and possibly in three tiers (the tallest at the back, of course) and your class teacher, either benign or severe, being always on the edge of the photograph.

Perhaps you were in school uniform – all caps or berets or badges looking the same. School uniform. Why did we ever have a school uniform? So that we would appear as a unit, a mark of our solidarity; we had a group identity.

Sure, an individual may flourish within and contribute to the whole, but such contributions would not be allowed to be paraded beyond the solid core. That seems to be at the base of school rules, and certainly those of the armed forces. No individualism. Don’t use your initiative, but just obey orders.

This really is a mess. And St Paul’s words in the second reading* try to point this out. [*1 Corinthians 12:12-30 – SJC]

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