Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Entertainer

Lent Day 2

Eze 33:30-33  As for you, mortal, your people who talk together about you by the walls, and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to a neighbor, "Come and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD."  They come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear your words, but they will not obey them. For flattery is on their lips, but their heart is set on their gain. To them you are like a singer of love songs, one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; they hear what you say, but they will not do it.  When this comes--and come it will!--then they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

Laurence Olivier was honoured as one of the best actors of the 20th Century. A three time Golden Globe and BAFTA winner, he was also awarded two Oscars, five Emmy’s, and a knighthood. Yet despite the accolades he identified most with his role as Archie Rice in The Entertainer - a kind of fake who, as Archie says, can be warm and smiling and feel nothing. "It's all tricks," Olivier told writer Jack Kroll[1].

As a preacher I completely understand this. I get up week by week to preach to people who seek religious entertainment. The temptation is to look for better tricks to keep the attention of the audience, because, as written in Ezekiel “they hear what you say, but they will not do it (Eze 33:32). I suspect that this is our besetting failure as human beings: we want our religion to entertain us rather than to change our lives.

Lent becomes an opportunity for change. Lent asks us to abstain from entertainment. It is a time when we are challenged to give up the things that we use to distract us from our inner spiritual journey. Allow this Lenten season to remind you of a faith that is impervious to tricks.     

Cheer up love, life isn't as bad as all that, and even if it is, there's nothing we can do about it
Frank Rice: in The Entertainer.


The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
The Rewards of Ministry
A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants p.84


[1] blanche-2

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