BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

© John Denney 6 October 2005

Sermon on the Hill(man Minx)[1]


My friend – let’s call him Paul – is a vicar.  A couple of years ago, he was driving to conduct the funeral of a former member of his church in a town he’d not visited before.  He missed the turn from the motorway, and started to panic.  He turned round and made his way back to the right turn, but was in danger of being late for the funeral.  So he drove a bit too fast and then noticed the blue flashing light and – oh dear! – a police car stopped him.  The traffic constable looked at his licence and said, “Reverend, eh?”  “Yes,” said Paul, hoping to persuade the policeman to be lenient, “I’m on my way to conduct a funeral.  Could you let me off?  After all, Blessèd are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy[2]”.  Still writing out the form, the policeman replied, “Sorry, Reverend, but your speedometer runneth over.”


It’s one of the hazards of driving that if you drive too fast, you’re likely to get caught.  I was fined £60 with three points a couple of years ago for driving at 38 miles an hour along New Parks Boulevard.  I was hurrying to deliver some urgent medicines from Glenfield Hospital to someone who’d been discharged, and the road was empty, apart from the camera van, that is.  So, no complaints: I was speeding, and I shouldn’t have been. 


The annoying thing, though, is that I didn’t get any credit for the hundreds of hours of driving when I didn’t drive too fast.  Because, as a Christian, I try to follow the teachings of Jesus.  “Now then, John,” you’re thinking, “Jesus didn’t say anything about motoring behaviour.”  No, but I was thinking of what we know as the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus said Blessèd are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth[3].  So driving meekly means not speeding, not driving aggressively, letting people in at junctions, giving way to others.


How about giving it a try, driving meekly.  Maybe that’ll stop your loved ones finding out the truth of something else Jesus said: Blessèd are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted[4].


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[1] The Hillman Minx was a small car made by the English Rootes Group in the 1950s and 1960s.  The DeLuxe saloon cost around £773, so the buyers were a little more affluent than people like my father, who ran a Morris Minor (with the split windscreen), that cost £358.  I learned to drive in OKD301, which was traded in for £25 in 1963 for a Morris 1100.  OKD301 had done over 250,000 miles in the 13 years she lived with us on her 900cc sidevalve engine.

[2] Matthew 5:7 KJV

[3] Matthew 5:5 KJV

[4] Matthew 5:4 NIV