I met with a friend for coffee today and we were comparing notes on how our Sunday mornings had been at our churches yesterday. She was telling me about how she got a little distracted during her sermon and she had to stop for a few moments to collect herself while she was preaching. “Dramatic pause,” she said, and smiled. I understood. Any preacher understands. Although we would like to always be 100% present in the words we are speaking and the spirit’s nudging in that moment, sometimes our minds do wander. We laughed about how it would make a pretty humorous book if we were to collect the stories of what pastors have found themselves thinking about while preaching. It’s not always super pastoral…
On any given Sunday, while preaching, I have been known to be thinking:
1. How to will my kids to look at me so I can give them a meaningful glare for wrestling in the front row.
2. If that visitor in the third row who looks like the guy I used to send secret crush notes to back in high school could actually be the guy I sent secret crush notes to back in high school. (It was!)
3. If I’m going to throw up in the pulpit or will I be able to finish my sermon first and escape to the bathroom during the sermon hymn.
4. Good, Joe is here today, I need to pray with him after church because his surgery is coming up tomorrow.
5. I can feel one of my knee-high socks sliding down my leg.
6. Did I turn off the ringer on my cell phone?
7. Only thirty minutes until vacation! Woo-hoo!
8. I don’t have any idea what I am talking about.
9. John is sleeping again.
10. Oh, there is Ole. It’s the first Sunday he is here after his wife died. I want to talk to him after church.
11. Oh crap, I skipped over the special music before the sermon. We will have to fit that in before the prayers.
12. I think I need bifocals.
13. I totally suck at this.
14. I rock at this!
15. I’m missing a page! Dear, sweet baby Jesus, I’m missing a page of my sermon! Just keep talking…
16. I see you yawning.
17. This story is going to make so-and-so think I’m talking directly about/to him.
18. Can they tell I totally recycled this sermon from six years ago?
19. Dang, I wish I would have spent more time writing this/practicing this/praying about this sermon.
20. Oh no, there is so-and-so. I forgot she wanted me to call her last week.
21. I don’t think anyone is listening.
22. I think everyone is listening! You can hear a pin drop in this place!
23. I need a Sunday off, like, NOW!
24. Thank you, God, for this place/congregation/day/life.
Fellow preachers, how about you?