It was one of those Sundays.
- I lost my focus and then my place, stumbling over words I’ve spoken dozens of times introducing a baptism.
- The organ got stuck on a note right in the middle of a hymn.
- The microphones popped and rung throughout the service, with a little feedback tossed in.
- Most of the kids wouldn’t come up for the children’s sermon.
- My sermon, though well-prepared and practiced, just didn’t inspire. (I wasn’t even inspired.)
Yeah, it was one of those Sundays.
Of course, every other church gathered for a smooth, inspirational and flawless worship experience. They always do. At least, that’s what they (my heart and soul) tell me.
- A beautiful little girl was baptized and welcomed into the church.
- A whole bunch of her non-churched family and friends clearly heard the gospel, some for the first time.
- We all feasted on God’s grace at the Lord’s Supper.
- We got to meet Zac, Emma and Sophia (Zac is my nephew, a second year seminarian at Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN who our church supports.)
- There is another Sunday on the way. I’ll get another chance. I always get another chance.
That’s grace. And it’s free. So I think I’ll talk them (my heart and soul) into camping out there for a while.
One of the great things about being a pastor is that you never lack for new experiences. I’ll close out the first month of January with one I had today that was partly humorous, partly embarrassing, and a little sad.
It began as a traditional visit to a member in a local nursing home who was recovering from some surgery and receiving an assortment of therapies. After some introductory conversation about this and that, it was time for the sacrament. Bread and wine were put in place, scripture read, and it was time for the words of institution.
As I am almost exactly halfway through the words, a medical assistant steps into the room and interrupts with a rather personal question for the patient. We didn’t quite hear it the first time, so she repeated it using very descriptive words, got her answer, and disappeared.
While all this is happening, I’m thinking, “Is this happening? Doesn’t she what we’re doing? Do I need start over? How embarrassing is this?” I simply picked up where I left off and Christ’s words transformed a not-so-holy situation into holy ground just like they always do. Afterwards I was reminded that Christ didn’t mind being in a world or among people who didn’t recognize him, respect him, or understand what he was all about. And he still doesn’t mind. His grace still works in humorous, embarrassing, sad, painful, and sinful situations. That’s probably why some call it “amazing.”