Vicar’s Reflection: 2nd September 2018, Ordinary 22
‘Keeping Up Appearances” was a television comedy series produced by the BBC which aired from 1990 to 1995 but is frequently seen in re-runs. It starred the delightful Hyacinth Bucket played by Patricia Routledge – who insisted her surname be pronounced Bouquet. The show follows Hyacinth in her attempts to prove her social superiority, and to gain standing with those she considers upper class. Her attempts are constantly hampered by her lower class extended family, whom she is desperate to hide. Much of the humour comes from the conflict between Hyacinth's vision of herself, and the reality of her underclass background. James, the brother of Jesus, in his letter condemns those who refuse to recognise the truth about themselves, who pretend to be religious or holy people while not behaving with kindness and mercy. Jesus, in the Gospel reading accused the Pharisees, of being hypocrites who teach one thing but behave differently. A constant challenge for Christians is to mirror in ourselves the character and example of Christ. Hard to do if we don’t see or know him. We cannot meet him at our local for a coffee or a beer. But we can meet him in the bread and wine of communion, in the words of scripture, in the fellowship of community, and in every person in need, regardless of whether they are upper or lower class. To be a Christian is to know how far short we fall in ourselves, while also knowing we are made complete in Christ.