This week the BBC lost a legal battle to prevent the publication of the auto-biography of the man claiming to be ‘The Stig’. For those who don’t know who The Stig is, he is the mysterious racing driver who dresses permanently in his white racing suit with white helmet, the blackened visor of which is never lifted. His identity is thereby kept secret. He never speaks, just stands menacingly in the background, or drives with silent efficiency in their vehicle test drives. Why did the BBC take this legal action? Their feeling was that the power of the Stig is in his anonymity. If he is revealed as simply A. N. Other racing driver, he is no longer as potent a figure.
Reading this reminded me of the following passage in Ephesians, Eph. 1:15-23:
‘For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.’
Here Paul extols the greatness of God the Father as demonstrated in his ability to raise Jesus from the dead – which of us could achieve such a task? Who else has such power over life and death? He also extols the power of Jesus, God’s Son – he is the one to whom God the Father has and will give all authority and power. But there’s more! In the last verse, we are let into a breath-taking secret. If we’re honest, the Church is a motley bunch at the best of times. We’re not the most glamorous or fashionable bunch. We have more than our fair share of failures, scandals and misfits, but what does Paul say about who we really are? Paul says that in his Church is the fullness of God! In and through us, God is known and made known, his character and power is revealed. The Stig may be a powerful figure, with an ordinary secret identity, but we’re an ordinary people, with a most powerful secret identity. Perhaps its time we are prepared to let the secret out!
Church Newsletter article for Sunday 5th September 2010