The afternoon was unexpectedly manic, as I heard at the church door of 2 people newly in hospital who could do with a visit and I still had the evensong sermon to write. Worse, my computer has not been on speaking terms with my printer since just before Christmas, so everything has taken longer as I have faffed around with memory stick, the other family printer etc etc...So after lunch I sat down and struggled to some sort of a conclusion with the sermon, saved it on the memory stick and handed that over to LCM, who was engaged in some complicated CD burning operation such that I couldn't simply print the sermon off myself.
Shortly afterwards, he brought in a wodge of paper which I slipped into the relevant file before heading off to the hospital. Everything ran smoothly there, and I arrived safely at church in comfortable time for Evensong. All continued well till the 2nd lesson...having prepared a sermon on Galatians 1 1-11 what I heard was Galatians 1 11-24 (this is absolutely correct - I have no idea what possessed me to write on the earlier passage). However there was, I felt, nothing to be done about this except to confess to an inverse epiphany - a moment not of "Ahah" but of "Oh No" and then trust to God that the congregation would still make some sense of my words...It might have been OK, too, if I hadn't reached the end of page 4 and turned over to discover not page 5 but a totally unrelated document...and no sign of the rest of my sermon ANYWHERE
What that sermon lacked in content (pretty much everything) it certainly made up for in passion as my panic lent fire to my words...
Notes to self
- Read the lectionary reference, check that you've read it, read it again
- Check contents of file before ascending pulpit steps
- If all else fails, bring things to a close with speed and conviction and thank God for the junior choristers whose silent applause as I cowered in my stall afterwards was quite the most cheering aspect of the whole thing
- Seek mediation for the printer/computer dispute...get them talking somehow, come what may