Monday, May 28, 2007

Occupational Hazards

My time in Magheralin is coming to an end. I have just three services left before I finish in the parish. I'll probably say more about it coming up to, or just after my leaving sermon on 10th June. But in the mean time, I'll say that I've really enjoyed my year and a half working in the parish, assisting at services, teaching, and gaining some practical experience. Soon after I started, I blogged about some embarrassing moments I'd been having, as well as the hazards of preaching. It seems that the end of my placement will be similarly fraught, judging by yesterday; although this time, it was not my embarrassment!

I'm sure the rector won't mind me retelling the story (Gareth, sorry!). We were singing the hymn before the sermon. It was drawing to a close as Gareth climbed into the pulpit. Turning round, he descended the steps again, and went to the prayer desk. Rifling through the books and papers on the desk, his face went red and a smile burst on his face. I was leading the service, and wondering what was going on, as the singing of the hymn ended. Gareth turned on his radio mike and asked the organist to play the song again quietly while he went out to see if the sermon notes were in his coat pocket in the vestry! Absolutely priceless!

Thankfully they were there, and after the moment of hilarity, the sermon proceeded. As Gareth said, it could happen to a bishop, and probably has!

Talk about occupational hazards. Thanks to Gareth's moment of embarrassment, I've learnt to make doubly sure the sermon is with me and I don't leave the Bible down from leaving the house until climbing into the pulpit!

It also made me wonder what I would do, if it did happen to me. Would I go and get the notes? Would I try to preach with just the passage in front of me? Would I panic? As you'll have noticed, I tend to have a full script of the sermon in front of me. I would probably get a copy of the script - to ensure I covered what I wanted to cover, and get the points of detail right.

Some might argue that we should let the Spirit do the work, preaching without any notes and going where He wills; but surely the Spirit can be just as at work in leading and guiding my scriptwriting? I'm not confident enough to go for it without any notes... maybe it will come with time.

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