Message from the Pulpit is a sketch from the BBC comedy The Two Ronnies, first broadcast on 4 November 1972. It features a vicar attempting to deliver a sermon.
A vicar (Barker) in the pulpit begins his sermon about how everybody has, at one time or another, asked themselves 'Who am I?', only to be distracted by the sound of someone breaking wind. As the vicar continues, a man in the congregation starts to complain about the sermon, and calls the vicar a raving idiot.[N 1] When the vicar's reply promts another comment from the heckler, the vicar suggests the heckler is at the wrong service, and should be attending his own funeral.
Resuming the sermon, the vicar remarks that life is strange, with two sides, leading the heckler to interupt. When the vicar responds by advising the man to lie down in the cemetary and tell them he's ready for them, the man says that the cemetary staff are saving a big space for the vicar. After suggesting that the biggest space in the area is between the heckler's ears, the vicar reaches down into the pulpit for a violin and a bow, and plays a few notes of whistful music.
The vicar then remarkes that people are funny, especially his wife, who phones him up just so she can hang up on him. After another few seconds on the violin, the vicar reveals his wife sent him to the doctor, because she thought the vicar looked ill. When the heckler responds by remarking that the vicar has never looked better, the vicar replies by advising the heckler to be under the bus that is due to leave directly after the service.
Another burst of violin music is followed by the vicar stating that the doctor told him he would live until he was 55. When the vicar pointed out that he was already 55, the doctor replied 'What did I tell you!' After more music, the vicar describes his wife as an amazing woman, and states he treasures every moment they are apart, before commenting that it is only people like her who say beauty is only skin deep.
The vicar then relates a recent visit to his house by a cardinal, who asked if the woman who answered the door was the vicar's wife, to which the vicar responded by asking if the cardinal thought he would employ an ugly woman as a maid. When the heckler remarkes that the vicar is lucky to have a wife the way he looks, the vicar responds by remarking on the death a few days earlier of a 106 year old verger who, three days after his death, still looked healther than the heckler.
After more music on the violin, the vicar tells the story of a Jewish-Japanese man living in wartime Tokyo, who visits the kamakize pilot recruiting office, and reveals that, when he is asked why he wants to be a suicide pilot, the man responded by saying it was a living. The vicar then leaves the pulpit, to a rendition of 'Happy Days are Here Again' on the organ, and meets a short man (Corbett), dressed as an Archbishop, standing next to a cloth screen.
When the man asks what they (the congreation) are like, the vicar says they are marvellous. On hearing this, the man remarks that is good, reveals a ventriloquist dummy that resembles him, and announces that he is going to do 'Garables from the Gigle' (Parables from the Bible), before walking to the pulpit as the vicar departs.
- ↑ The identity of the cast member performing the part of the heckler is unknown.