Sunday, January 20, 2008

Nemesis

struck this evening!

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

10 comments:

Songbird said...

Oy. You were living my worst nightmare!

RevDrKate said...

Oy indeed! And what Songbird said! This is the kind of stuff I wake up sweating and say "Oh Thank goodness it was only a dream." But poor Kathryn...it was NOT! Thank heavens for the junior choristers. And that it's over!

Tom Allen said...

Has not part of your curates training been to learn to preach on the hoof - as part of mine it was agreed that training vicar would whisper to me as we processed at the start of Eucharist in one morning - "your preaching today" - and then later to set the task of preparing a sermon during the preceding hymn. It is a nightmare - but at least you know you can do it on those occassions which have happened to me in the last year alone - "preachers wife phoning 10 minutes before the service saying he is ill" - "Leaving sermon notes at first church and not realising at second church until the gospel reading" - "arriving in the pulpit to realise I had the wrong sermon notes". Trouble is that some people think that the first of these is one of the best sermons which I have preached!! Which is NOT to recommend that we do not carefully prepare - just to suggest that once in while it might be an accidentally good thing not to!!

marcella said...

Oh dear - a nightmare. Well done for managing to say anything at all.

Crimson Rambler said...

I think my best prep for the Nightmare Moment was during teaching at Local University -- went to class, opened briefcase, reached for notes, and found instead, one copy of "Captain Pugwash and the Buried Treasure," missing both covers and the last three pages. Ah, improvisation...

Dr Moose said...

Ouch!

Similar things happen to us all, but it's amazing how often God really does provide...

Jonathan Hunt said...

Never trust someone else to print your sermon. Ever.

Even your husband.

Crimson Rambler said...

Also...printers are notoriously susceptible to demonic possession. Trust me on this.

Chris said...

Oh, Kathryn! Horrible experience!

Sorry, Tom, "Preach on the hoof"?? Can't quite understand ... Can't get my mind round that one! ;-)

On printers, as one of my colleagues used to say, "Never let anything mechanical know you are in a hurry!"

more cows than people said...

oh. my. goodness. i would have flipped.

god bless you for getting through it.

was it liberating or just terrifying?

yes, this is the stuff of my anxiety dreams.