Sunday morning. I preach in two hours. People needing my attention arrive in one.
I haven’t memorized the sermon yet. I’m holding the manuscript, but since I printed it out Thursday, I haven’t even glanced at it. Haven’t had the chance.
I get to the sanctuary to memorize. I’ve gotten memorization down to about a half-hour; it’s not ideal, but I should be able to get this thing nailed down.
And then the cell rings. It’s the family of the baby I’m baptizing in two hours as part of the service. Baby’s sick. They’re not sure if they’ll be able to make it. No, not an emergency, no need for a visit, but might not be able to make it to church.
OK. No problem. If they don’t show, I’m going to have to switch the opening hymn. That means organizing with the organist and figuring out how to handle the projector if we switch. But the family doesn’t know, because it’ll depend how the baby’s doing at that moment.
Great. OK, set that aside. I need to memorize the sermon.
My grounds and facilities guy comes in as I’m about a paragraph in. Fairly normal. On an average Sunday, we’ll chat for a few minutes before I review the sermon. Today I don’t have the time.
Today he really wants to talk.
Ten minutes later, and I’ve got the room to myself again. I look at the manuscript. Do I at least have the outline firm in my head?
Wait. What was I thinking when I wrote this? I look at the passage from Scripture it’s based on. Did I totally miss the point, or am I just delusional at the moment from lack of sleep? The kids have not been sleeping well this week, and a number of late-night early-morning emergencies have addled me. Do I have time to even consider a rewrite?
My organist comes in the door early to practice a harder hymn. I’m out of time. “Oh!” she says. “Everything OK, pastor?”
“I don’t usually see you in your jeans on a Sunday morning.”
Really? I’m so tired I forgot to dress up? Good thing my house is attached to the church. I fill her in on the possible baptism switch and run home to change. And as I change, I look at the time – church should be starting right now. What happened? She’s playing the opening hymn! I can hear the congregation singing! Robe! I need to get my robe on! And…
…and I still haven’t figured out what’s going on with the sermon!
Heart pounding I throw my robe on over my jeans and step out to greet the congregation. I slip and fall. I’d taken off my shoes to change, never put any others on, and now I’m in my socks. (more…)