Now that I’m about to begin the lay preaching training process with the local Methodist circuit, I’ve started picking up the quarterly preaching calendar for the circuit. I saw that CK Barrett, or Kingsley as he is called at the churches, was preaching two or three times this quarter. So a group of us visited St. Andrew’s Methodist in a village just outside of Durham to hear him preach this Sunday. Nijay gives a summary of the event over at his blog, so I’ll just add a couple of extra details I found interesting.
Though his vision slowed his scripture reading down, his preaching was clearer and more interesting than any that I’ve given to date! He tied his darkness to light message from Acts 26 to that of Plato’s cave imagery in light of Halloween. Kingsley applied the shadow-reality dialectic as a Christian viewpoint to the world, with the reality coming from the gospel and God’s work. The question he had for Plato was how did the guy ever get out of the cave? It was a great turn when he offered that it was the one who was born in a cave and left it and the one who was placed in the grave after the cross who left it. Jesus is the one who shows us the way of reality by leaving the cave and bringing us with himself. My summary doesn’t do it justice, but it was a good balance of academic tid bits (why this was not a defence at a trial, Paul’s education, etc.) with the more pastoral encouragement to live according to the light of the gospel.
It was such a treat to meet him in person and to hear him preach, especially since he celebrated his 90th birthday last spring. Methodism has been well represented at Durham–Barrett, Morna Hooker, and Jimmy Dunn. Not to mention students like Ben Witherington who passed through here several years back. St. John’s college here hosts the Wesley Study Centre, which is one of three UK residential training centres for Methodist ministers.