It's been a week since my most recent sermon at Riverview. Whenever I fill the pulpit I try to write a post about the content of the sermon I preached. For whatever reason I haven't gotten around to writing that post yet. Well, I just downloaded the podcast of my sermon from last week, so I thought this would be an opportune time to say a few words.
I need to start off by saying that it's a good thing that God doesn't accept our worship based upon the level of technical perfection it is conducted in, nor does he give demerits for uncontrollable technical glitches. Thank goodness that Jesus' blood and righteousness are what make our worship acceptable, because if God's standard for acceptable worship were functional microphones and technical perfection, then Riverview Baptist Church would have been up a creek last week!
First of all, it was a crazy service. There were several technical snafus, not to mention that it was a very full and detail oriented service. Several things had to go a certain way in order to "work." To begin with, the Pioneer Girls group was presenting a black light puppet show during the service for the children's story. This meant that we had to try and black out as much natural light from the sanctuary as possible, which meant quite a bit of work beforehand, plus all of the platform furniture was either moved or removed, and there were plenty of black light decorations all over the stage.
Things went crazy during the service too. Rich, our multi-media guy, came down right as the service was about to begin and told me the computer had frozen, and it was going to be a solid five minutes before it was back up and running. This was a bit concerning, considering that a lot of our announcements are fueled by visuals on the screen. Moreover, we were showing an Operation Christmas Child video during the announcements. Rich told me I needed to kill some time during the announcements to allow time for the computer to reboot. I did, but apparently it wasn't enough. The computer was still hiccuping by the time we were ready to show the video.
After all that, our sound guy, Craig, signaled to me from the sound booth that my microphone wasn't on. I signaled back that, in fact, it was turned on. He then signaled back that I had it on "mute mode." I signaled back again that no, I didn't. This wouldn't be too much of an issue, had I not been responsible for the corporate prayer that morning, which I was. This means I had to pray corporately for the church, which is somewhat hard to do without any voice amplification. During a silent prayer time, Craig snuck down and gave me a new wireless mic, and told me to plug my mic cord into the new receiver. I couldn't get my cord to plug into the mic! So, out of desperation, I picked up one of the hand-held mics, which unbeknownst to me, was wrapped around the music stand I was standing in front of. The mic cord had no slack, and as I drew it to my face, the taut cord pulled the mic from my hand and it bounced loudly off the music stand (did I mention this was during the silent prayer time?). The foam wind protector on the mic fell off and rolled onto the floor (four feet below the platform). It turned out that this particular microphone was having problems too, so I ended up just shouting out the corporate prayer for the morning.
After the prayer, I invited the congregation to stand and sing the doxology in preparation for the offering. As the piano and organ played the introduction to the doxology, out of the corner of my eye, I could see someone ascending the stairs to the platform. I looked, and was more than surprised to see my three year old daughter coming to greet me on the platform. She had left her seat, gone and picked up the foam wind protector from the handheld microphone, and brought it to me on the platform. According to my wife, she was very distressed when I dropped the mic earlier and the foam wind cover fell off, and she felt it was very important to return it to me. The Mrs. told her to go get it and hand it to me after the prayer. In the mind of my three year old, this meant to bring it to me on the platform, which she did. Needless to say, I was quite surprised to see her up there!
After the doxology, and during the offertory, I slipped into the back room (because there was nowhere to sit on the platform. Craig, the sound guy, was waiting for me, with yet a third wireless mic. He explained that the cord from my original wireless mic had shorted out, and that's why it wasn't working with any mic he gave me. But here he was, with a fresh and working mic and cord, which I quickly clipped to my tie.
Then, after coming up with a makeshift children's story to introduce the black light puppet show, the kids came on and did a fantastic job. Take a look.
After each service, it's traditional for the preaching pastor to meet exiting worshipers at the door for a handshake, which I dutifully did (although I always get out of there as fast as possible - no offense to Riverview folks, but have you ever shook 200 hands in a row? You tend to want to wash your hands as soon as you can). This time, one person who was in the service and had heard my sermon simply came up to me and asked me where the book of 2nd Colossians was located in the Bible. I didn't understand. That's a strange question to ask. After all, my sermon was from Colossians 2.
He said that I had mentioned at the beginning of the sermon that we were "continuing our study of 2nd Colossians." No. Not possible, I thought. I must've said something like, we're "continuing our study of the 2nd chapter of Colossians." Surely I would never say something as stupid as referring to 2nd Colossians - a book that doesn't even exist.
Although, when I look back on it, it's not too surprising that I would say something like that in a sermon. Whenever I preach, I tend to get in a zone where all I'm focusing on is the sermon, and what I am saying. I find that if I don't pretty much know what I'm going to say during a sermon, then it's anybody's guess what is going to come out of my mouth. Therefore, if you ever hear me preach, you can pretty much know that almost every word I say is prepared before hand.
This zone, however, can tend to tie me down and make me oblivious to what is happening around me, and even to what is coming out of my mouth. Sometimes I think I can get so concerned about what I am going to say, that I don't realize what I've actually said. It seemed possible to me that something like this could have happened here, although I wasn't going to believe it until I heard the recording for myself.
Well, as I said earlier, I just downloaded the podcast. Here's a transcript of the first 11 words of my sermon from this past week:
"We're continuing on, this morning, in our study of second Colossians..."
Oh well. Like I said: if nothing else, we can rejoice that the acceptable-ness of our worship is not dependent upon us doing it well. Thank God for that!