How could I show up fifteen minutes late for worship? I’m the freaking pastor! My family scuttles in to a row of seats as I rush back to get my robe on. The guest pastor is sort of hopping from leg to leg – his granddaughter is being baptized today, and he asked permission to step in and do that. So not only am I late, showing disrespect to my congregation, but I’m looking bad in front of a brother in the ministry.
Not just any brother in the ministry.
The freaking president of the seminary. A man who taught me.
He leans over and whispers to me, “You good to go?”
He stands to start the service. And as he does, he sort of quirks his head like I remember him doing so often in class. “You know, this sort of reminds me…” And he launches into an incredible devotion, just off the top of his head, like always did in class. Just taking something that just happened and using it as an example of Law or Gospel, marrying it to a biblical text, and just making the sacred an everyday thing in the best way.
And he’s doing it here in my congregation, where I just showed up fifteen minutes late for worship. And then I glance at the bulletin.
I don’t remember what I’m preaching on.
I don’t even remember what part of the Bible I’m preaching on.
Now I’m not listening to the incredible devotion. My heart is pounding. I read through the lessons that are printed out. None of them are familiar. Wait, that one. I must be preaching on that one.
The one my seminary president is now waxing philosophic on.
Maybe I can punt. With us starting so late, and with us receiving God’s Word from such a worthy source, maybe I can just get up, read the text, and announce the next hymn?
Can I do that?
…and then I wake up. It is Sunday morning. I have no idea what I’m preaching on.
Because I’m on vacation. Today I get to sit with my family and be fed God’s Word. Today I don’t need to preach.
My brain doesn’t believe me, apparently. I’m in such a habit of preaching on Sundays that I must be preaching today. And thus… nightmare.
I leave to go back home tomorrow morning. The last few days in particular I’ve been thinking about what needs to happen when I get home. I’m gearing up to get back to work. And my brain probably took that as a sign. “Welp, time to get going on sermoning again!”
I guess I’m ready to get back to it.
It’s been a good vacation. We’ve visited friends we haven’t seen in years. Got to visit my parents. Relax. I did a bunch of reading just for fun. The kids got to explore so many parks. This rest has been great.
But now it draws to a close. Time to get to work. Time to rejoice again in the tasks God has given me.
And hopefully no more nightmares.