I had something of an epiphany a couple of weeks ago! I realised that, without intending to, I have been keeping count…
I have been mentally keeping count of how many times I have been compared to, or asked if I like, Dawn French’s depiction of female clergy (often with a quizzical look on the face of the enquirer). To top it all, I have spent so much of my first months here enjoying peoples company and going to events that all involve wonderful homemade cakes that I looked in the mirror and thought ‘Golly I really am turning in to Geraldine!’
Do I mind? No, I don’t. Actually, I take it as something of a compliment when people draw comparison as I think Dawn French depicted a warm and bubbly character who had good heart. What’s not to love about a ministry like that?
I think if the comparison goes awry it is probably in the depiction of rural life and the reality of what the job of a vicar entails. Yes, there are PCC meetings, though I have four PCCs to Geraldine’s one (and here I caution readers and PCC members to refrain from taking this analogy further to imagine who mirrors who with other Dibley characters!) and there were no episodes I recall where she or her parishioners made visits to the local Foodbank with contributions, or advocated on someone’s behalf at a benefits review, or sat with the dying or bereaved. Let’s face it, it wouldn’t make great comedy!
I think one of the great privileges of my ministry is to be involved in all of that too. Yes, I’ve had my fair share of comic moments (not involving Teletubbies!) but I’ve also shared moments of grief, anger and utter brokenness that is the reality of our human condition. I call it a privilege because I am reminded that my ministry is modelled after Jesus’ own ministry and he came to the sick, the broken and the unloved and he gave them hope and love and healing. Jesus wept. (The shortest verse in the bible; John 11.35)
And although the bible doesn’t state it, I’m certain that Jesus laughed too, we know that he valued and enjoyed community, friendship and hospitality…which brings me back to the cake issue… Somehow it wouldn’t feel right to stop accepting cakes and hospitality that is offered at the events and homes I visit, anyway, I enjoy them! But there needs to be a counter to it if I’m not going to end up Looking more ‘Geraldine’ than ‘Dawn French 2018’! So, I’m going to walk my patch. I plan, during the autumn, to ensure that I walk regularly through the villages, hamlets and the coast road of Low Furness. If you see me, please stop and say hello!
With every blessing,
“As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.” Luke 24:15
Dibley Reference Count: 12