A Retired Minister’s Nightmare

He was invited to come out
of retirement and preach at
the church of a good friend.
He brought an old sermon,
saw no manuscript just dis-
parate parts and became des-
perate — illegible notes
scribbled on napkins from
McDonald’s, two old high
school yearbooks, a post
card from one of the exotic
travels of former parishioners.
It all must have meant some-
thing the first and second
time he preached the sermon,
but now? A hodgepodge. He
forgot to bring his academic
robe and the robe he found
himself wearing was his bath-
robe, which he, in a panic,
thought he could use with a
stole of the liturgical
season borrowed from his
friend. His friend offered
him a white shirt instead. He
put it on and headed for the
sanctuary. The chancel was
huge and decorated for both
Easter and Christmas, a palm
tree hanging over the pulpit.
Suddenly the pulpit moved
forward and down two levels,
level with the congregation.
He looked for a chair upon
which to sit and found only
a tiny stool. He sat and
rummaged through the
mess of notes in his hands
as the prelude came to an
end. And then, as was always
the case, just before he had
to get up and make an utter
ass of himself, he was saved
by the Introit. He awoke in
a cold sweat.

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