Is it just me? I find myself increasingly irritated by the news in the morning. We are told what has happened overnight. That’s great. That’s important. We are told about some things that are happening today. That’s helpful, even if it is a bit like advertising (especially when the ‘news’ is about a TV programme that is on later!). But what irritates me is when we are told what someone will be saying in a speech later.
Why? Why do we need to be told what is in the speech? Why not wait for the speech and then tell us what was said? And if we know what will be in the speech, why bother making the speech at all? It all seems rather silly to me. It would be like me announcing what will be in my sermon later this week. Yes, I know I sometimes say what the theme will be, but that is usually because something I have read or considered feels important then, and is not an attempt at trailing the sermon in advance to gain publicity.
I reckon this trend could probably be linked to the growth in the numbers of publicists and ‘spin doctors’. I suspect that the thinking is that if you announce the theme of the speech before it happens you can show how important / relevant / in touch with public opinion / controversial the speech will be and generate interest in it. It has certainly happened today with an announcement of the theme of a speech by David Cameron being trailed on the morning news and then picked up in a radio phone-in. By the time of the speech it becomes the topic everyone is talking about on that day and so become even more relevant.
There is a sense in which Jesus did that. During his ministry his theme was often about ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand / near / coming’. It was breaking in as he preached, healed, taught, blessed, encouraged, rebuked, challenged and invited. But it came in more spectacularly at Easter. On the cross. In the tomb. Out of the tomb!
This Sunday morning (unsurprisingly) the theme is Palm Sunday. I am not going to tell you what aspect of the theme we are taking. But is it possible that Palm Sunday was a trailer for Easter week? We are participating in the Passion Experience at our church. If you join in you will be sent a series of texts or emails during Easter week that reflect the events and help you to consider what was happening. The tension rises. The action gets more vivid. The dramatic music swells.
If you want to join in text ‘cbc’ to 07797 803 730 or visit www.thepassionexperience.org.uk/cbc and you can sign up for free. Make it the thing you are talking and thinking about next week.