Last Monday night I attended the Community Concert at the Wellsboro High School auditorium. It was a delightful hour and a half featuring music from the 1970s. The audience was involved in some parts, clapping, singing “uh-ah,” dancing. A fun evening.
Even as I sat watching, I thought of the work of cleaning up after. Since moving to Wellsboro I have spent some volunteer time working for the local community theatre. I started out auditioning for a part and (luckily for me) decided that rather than having a part on stage, being involved in backstage was more my talent. The decision led me to be Assistant Director cum Stage Manager for Witness for the Prosecution” co-director for two one act plays and gofer for a few others. The learnings were great including the critical part of replacing each part of a set in exactly the same place as it was last night and is required to be tomorrow night. I have a desk that is piled high with stacks, but I can find everything I want. That does not work if tomorrow the stage is being struck by a person who is at home tonight. Being able to pick up a wire and place it in the right place the first time, saves time, worry and stage meltdowns.
This striking of the set is part of my job as solo pastor in this small church. Each Sunday, I put on a one-act play for anyone who comes in the door. No reservations required. Before the play, I get the sound system turned on, get the worship bulletins set out, fix up the coffee accouterments, assure myself that communion bread is defrosted. All that on Sunday morning after a weekend of getting the script prepared for the bulletin and my soliloquy (called a sermon) designed to inspire the congregation to go out from our little church into the world as Jesus-people.
I am reminded of the values of replaced every wire on a set to make life easier for the next stage crew and what happens when my “set” is not properly cared for. Two weeks ago, I rushed into church, got sound turned on, communion ready, checked the pews to be sure they were cleaned up from last week and went out to have a before-church discussion of contemporary subjects. Among the things I should have done was to check my own copy of the bulletin so that I could open the huge pulpit Bible to the appropriate scripture. I skipped that step and later discovered that the worship leader - substituting for the worship leader who was ill - read the previous week’s scripture. I preached on this week’s scripture. A huge disconnect that I realized when the reader was reading. Fortunately, the congregation cuts me lots of slack. We laughed a bit about the mix up and went on. You can be sure that the next week, I made sure everything was ready for that morning.
I berate myself by saying I should get to church a bit earlier, but I am already there two hours ahead of time. I could blame or beat myself up. Or, I can do for myself what I would do for anyone else who made that mistake: remind myself that the only perfect person died about 2000 years ago. We all make mistakes. Life goes on.
I don’t want to make the same mistake again. Make mistakes I will. I hope they are of this less-serious variety and I can laugh at them and at myself.