Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the HUMOR genre (04/12/07)
TITLE: The Water Bottle Protection
By dub W
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However, from this perch, the pastor can see virtually everything that goes on, from the sleeping gents, to the loving couple, to the unhappy family, it’s all laid out for the leader in the sanctuary.
I had the privilege of serving a moderately sized congregation during the long term illness of their appointed minister. There, I learned first hand of the reason for the polite cough and bottle of drinking water.
Sometimes events happened away from the pulpit. For example: five minutes before a certain Sunday service I was summoned to the church basement. One of the teenage girls had crawled under all of the women’s room bathroom stalls, and locked the doors. Reaction was immediate, in robes I slid on my back and unlocked the doors, and emerged from the bathroom to cheers.
Then there was the Sunday little Jimmy did something so incredible that the whole congregation took notice. Honesty, I don’t know what it was, but in the middle of silent meditation, Jimmy’s sister screamed, “Jimmy, I’m gonna kill you.”
We’ve had our share of choir members drop books and music; but, my favorite story from opposite side of the chancel was during a reconstruction phase of the organ area, when the pianist, who was seated on a six inch platform scooted backward off of the platform and landed in the lap of a guitar player – the guitarist had luckily just put his instrument into a stand. Both red-faced people stood to the snickers of the congregation.
During the beginning of our service, acolytes light candles along the back of the altar area. The candelabras are on shelves about five feet off of the floor. Do the addition with me. A candle in a candelabrum stands about 30 inches tall. Candle shields add an inch or so. The wand used to light the candles is about three foot long. In other words, the tip of the candle is almost eight feet from the floor. Short acolytes must stand on a foot stood in order to light the candles. Now, the oh-oh factor – a member of the altar committee must make sure that the wicks are trimmed – otherwise the candle won’t light even with a blowtorch. Sure enough, one Sunday, the shortest of the acolytes attempted to light an untrimmed candle – down the isle came the lay leader, asking parishioners if they smoked and had a lighter. The child was frozen holding the extinguished wand. The six foot tall lay leader grabbed the candelabrum, pulled it off of the shelf. Immediately, the candle and the candelabrum became separated, the candle fell to the carpet, the golden shield fell aside in a different direction. The lay leader sat on the floor and tried to light the candle, finally, with the aid of one of the female choir members, he peeled away the wax, lit the candle, put it back into the candelabrum, and then put the whole thing back on the shelf - minus the shield, and then almost pushed the acolyte into the her seating area.
But, my all time favorite happened to our pastor. Almost every Sunday, during the Lord’s Prayer, a loud voice in the balcony rang across the sanctuary. The words of the prayer were spoken by a child seated in one corner, and certainly carried through the hall. Indeed, one Sunday the pastor backed away from the microphone and allowed the child to lead the congregation. He said later, that’s the way it should be.
Indeed, from the pulpit the congregation is exposed. Happiness and sorrow is laid out in such a manner that the pastor sees it all. And all of the pratfalls of a service are his or her entertainment, nearly every Sunday morning. Sometimes, a cough and sip from the water bottle are the only thing that keeps a pastor from "falling out."
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