I don’t know if you watch Rev on BBC 2. It’s curently in it’s third season. It’s about a village vicar who moves to an inner city London church, facing all sorts of trials. He’s often out of his depth and as a viewer I feel sorry for him as he struggles with almost everything he does, most of it being linked to keeping the church from closing down. It’s a much better picture of real life than The Vicar of Dibley, if you ever saw that. One thing I like about Rev is that it the characters are like people we will all come across, and they add a lot of humour to the show. I also like the way you can hear Adam, the vicar played by Tom Hollander, praying.
In last night’s episode he was at the end of his rope. Without ruining the plot for you he was in a desparate situation, not knowing how to respond or get out of it, not knowing which way to turn. After carrying a big cross throughout the night to prepare for an Easter event, he found himself on top of a hill in the morning daylight, shattered and sleep-deprived too.
He started singing a hymn on that hilltop, quietly at first, then loudly, with dancing to boot. Was he going mad? Maybe. It was clear that he needed help, from somewhere. Suddenly another figure emerges in the scene, a scruffy looking man dancing and singing alongside Adam, can in hand. Adam’s crazy song and dance loses a bit of enthusiasm as he doesn’t know what to make of the stranger, but he soon finds himself sitting on a bench and opening up to him. When Adam says a bit about his struggles, the man fires loads of cliches at him. Adam expected some kind of help, but realising the guy was not being helpful, he said thanks and tried to stop him saying more. But that’s when the man, played by Liam Neeson, said this:
Adam, Adam. We all have our crosses to bear. I understand, Adam. I’ll always be here.
A touch on the shoulder, a smile that met Adam’s eyes, and he was nowhere to be seen. Adam was left alone again, but changed, knowing he had met with God. Powerful, powerful stuff. Maybe we don’t need a lot of the stuff that churches do, and maybe we don’t need a lot of the thoughts and ideas we have about religion. Most of us certainly don’t want a God who looks down and tuts at our mess and punishes us for it. But I do believe we need a God who gets alongside us, enters into our suffering and tells us he understands, and that he’ll always be here. Now that is the God I see in Jesus.