Culture’s crammed with heaven–
with every common show (and song) afire with God.
But only the one who listens takes off shoes;
The rest sit round, switching channels.
— Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
Aurora Leigh (paraphrased)
“That will preach,” folks have heard me say through the years – pointing to any number of meaningful object lessons or stories or movies and songs or encounters.
Britain’s Got Talent has been a source of quite a few such pronouncements through the years. (Maybe it’s something that Simon Cowell brings to the mix?)
For our purposes here, now, I have in mind a performance by Jonathan Antoine and Charlotte Jaconelli (aka “Charlotte & Jonathan”), in 2012. (Don’t miss it, by the way: Simon’s prejudice (his pre-judgement) – thrown out, as a quick aside, at the beginning of the clip. See picture, below.)
Give yourself a few minutes, then, to this preachable moment – with a cup of coffee or tea in hand… and, perhaps, a kleenex. (I’d hope it provokes a choke and a tear!) Here’s a sermon about how you can’t judge a book by its cover – about how beauty and power and grace show up in the most unexpected places and people. (And then, there’s another powerful message, near the end, of loyalty and devotion – of sticking with those who have stuck with you [in spite of messages that you might want to “dump” them].)
And the text for such message(s)?
Many to be sure…
God employing a ruddy youth to slay a giant.
A little boy’s sack lunch becoming the basis of feeding 5,000.
A Savior born in a lowly stable – first visited by outcast shepherds.
Or maybe this one from St. Paul…
26 Brothers and sisters,… not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are… (1 Corinthians 1:26-28)
Of course, like any good sermon, the message goes beyond the particulars of Simon Cowell and Britain’s God Talent. To borrow from Gerald Manley Hopkins, like all truth, it “plays in 10,000 places.”
May God bless us with hearts and minds to perceive and appreciate the deeper truths and realities all around –but often (yes, very often) below the surface of what we can see!