An Exciting Service

I saw the old man standing near the front of the church and wondered why an usher paused near him, looking over his shoulder.  All was made clear when he faced the congregation, still fiddling with the microphone.  He explained that at almost 90, he was the oldest of the retired ministers in that church.  He thought he was in charge of the service next week, but when he got to church, he found out he was on that day.  That’s why he was not robed.  He certainly had everyone’s attention!  He asked two elders to do the liturgy so that he wouldn’t have to stand so long.  He hoped he would remember what he had studied to preach the next week.  We laughed when he said he always told young pastors to keep the sermon short, and he thought his would be.  With that, we plunged into the service.

I was shocked when the man read the text for the sermon, and it had come from today’s reading.  He proceeded to speak on the topic, obviously without notes.  He even referenced a passage that came before the reading.  As John said later, you don’t preach for 60 years without gaining experience.

I felt a kinship with the pastor, though I couldn’t blame age for my lapse.  About 30 years ago I sat down in the pew, wondering why the organist wasn’t playing.  Pastor Koepchen came out of the sacristy and looked directly and pointedly at me.  I turned and looked back at the organ and the empty organ bench.  I’ll bet I was up those steps and playing the first hymn in one minute flat.  Since I got my dates mixed up, I wouldn’t have had music with me and no shoes, so I probably played barefoot to feel the pedals, which I couldn’t do wearing heels.  Some memories are very good, because you know they are going to stay in the past.

5 thoughts on “An Exciting Service

  1. I can just imagine you scrambling up those steps to the organ and get to work…and with no shoes on …makes the story better. Do you remember the hymn, or did you just wing it?
    High heels always make stories better. Yesterday I had an appoint with a youngish attorney, who had removed her pretty but uncomfortable looking heels and proceeded barefoot. Gosh…when I think of all the time I spent in high heels back in the day I cringe. 🙂

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    1. I can’t play by ear, so I quickly found the right page and threw the hymnal on the rack. I have a recurring nightmare that I’m ready to play, and there isn’t any music in front of me.

      That was funny that your attorney kicked off her heels and worked in her bare feet. Like you, I wore heels for years. I now have Sunday sneakers.

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      1. yes, she was in her own office, and had her shoes all ready to step into… love it. man, I remember heels! I had some bkack high heeled knee-high boots that were SO cool! One night we went out and I wore those boots for longer than usual, and the pain was so bad my feet actually got numb! Was that stupid, or what? They weren’t strappy boots, had a high but clunky heel. I loved those boots.

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