Pastor Mark took this Sunday off, so he missed out on the heart-racing hilarity before worship today. Ten minutes before worship began, the sound system wasn't working and communion was not prepared. I had enlisted our sole eighth grader to be my assisting minister, but she hadn't been able to practice with a microphone. People asked me if so-and-so was doing okay. I had no idea and threw her on the list of prayers anyway.
These ministry moments are both entirely draining and energizing because there are two choices. I can wear the anxiety like an alb and freak everyone else out or I can invite them into the chaotic backstage of worshiping God, lightening the load and finding the humor together.
Larry and Bob became detectives and tracked down the missing key to the sound system. Within minutes, it was up and running.
Kari arrived with the bread and found Gladys, who was already in her pew and had forgotten about preparing communion. Together with another recruit, they filled cups and trays in record time.
I looked at my eighth grade assistant and shrugged. Sometimes it looks like this. She smiled and I knew she was up for the challenge, willing to fly by the seat of her pants...er...robe.
And then the Prelude begins. The candles are lit and people assemble. Suddenly, it turns into worship again. We sang Alleluias and I splashed kids at the font. My sidekick's prayers were loud and clear. I preached about this in between place - living out of the story of Paul and Lydia, living into Revelation's vision of the Lamb as our temple. We prayed our hearts out for one who may or may not be ill and consumed sourdough forgiveness. Perfect peace.
And then we were sent back out where sound systems will continue to fail and folks will forget the little things and we often don't get a dry run. But it is also where good things come from; detectives and helpers and young women willing to wing it.