We have just completed another Christmas Celebration….some call it the Holiday Season…but I believe in being forth-right. It is, what it is…..it’s Christmas.
I have spent all of my life in the midwest, some of it here in the middle midwest, some of it in the northern midwest. Which means we did some moving around and I’ve been involved in a number of churches. Some of you may be shocked and others just surprised that in these years I have been an Elder in some of these churches. As an Elder, you are expected to help out in any of a variety of areas. In this one church, in Minnesota, we always had two Christmas Eve services; the family one at 7:30pm and the “candle light” one at 11pm. I need to clarify, that at that time, churches in municipalites, were restricted from using REAL candles by the local fire departments, so it was sort of a “pretend” candle light, we just dimmed the lights.
There is a term called pulpit supply; that’s when your assgined pastor/preacher/minister is away and someone gives the message from the pulpit. Never being a person short of words or ideas to share, I was pulpit supply on many occassions. Nor have I ever been fearful of getting up before the “body” to speak.
Except..there was, this ONE time…
At 6:30, on this one Christmas Eve, our Pastor’s wife called……the Pastor was curled up on the bathroom floor, with a bad case of the flu!!! He wanted me to perform BOTH services that night!! I paused, but, I said yes, but my heart sunk. I had nothing “prepared”, although all of my pulpit supply messages have pretty much have been off the cuff, ok there there was always fore-thought, but tonight, I had nothing!! This wasn’t like a get up on Sunday, blasting people for not paying attention to God, this was like, get up on one of the “most Holy Solemn Celebrations” in Christendom, representing the evening before THE birth…..I’m wasn’t sure I qualified for THAT caliber of a speaker. Fear shuttered over me.
The pastor’s wife assurred me that everything was already prepared, all I needed was to present, everything was already written, she’d meet at his office with the key and show me where the papers were. Great!! Now I get to sit in office where the flu germs had been and touch the papers that the flu germs were crawling all over! I’d probably have the flu by the middle of the second service!
Don’t get any ideas. I didn’t get the flu that night or later. No one missed the Christmas Story, the material was well written and adequately presented. The Pastor was well for the next Sunday’s service….and life generally continued.
I think I was suppose to learn a lesson that night about trust. I’m sure I learned it; but, being human, I probably forgot it by the next week.