Monday Morning Quarterback

Note: Monday Morning Quarterback is a recurring post that examines personal and pastoral events of Sunday.


4:00. Alarm. Fell asleep working on the sermon last night, so here’s how this gets done.

4:37. Getting lost in Google Earth so I can name in my sermon the distances in miles from Jerusalem to Nazareth, Capernaum, and Bethlehem, respectively.

6:43. Closing the laptop on a sermon with no ending.

6:45. Enjoying some of the MASSIVE fruit salad I made yesterday. This thing should last all week.

6:53. Picking a tie in the dark=a dangerous move.

7:03. Out the door.

7:15. Set up the laptop in the pulpit to begin editing (and writing a conclusion).

7:32. Checking on my stack of T-shirts for handing out in the narthex. It’s a creative and interactive and very forward-thinking Palm Sunday worship idea that couldn’t possibly go wrong. Don’t worry about it.

7:52. Putting up Sunday School signs and suddenly remember that the youth Sunday School room has been overtaken by the preschool book fair. I knew about this and made alternate plans for afternoon youth groups but not Sunday School. Doh!

8:12. Catching up with Head of Staff, who was out of town all week.

8:58. Relocating Youth Sunday School class to library. Teachers smiling at me through gritted teeth.

9:12. Sitting in with Youth Sunday School as they finish preparations to lead next Sunday’s early morning Easter service.

9:13. The perfect opening hymn for this service wou–oh look a donut!

9:24. Student objecting to the Prayer of Confession language about the “cost” of following Jesus. Scanning the book shelves directly behind him for Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.” 

9:49. Checking in with Head of Staff before the service and realizing that I’ve incorporated some out-of-the ordinary stuff in this service and not necessarily told her about it exactly so much really for the most part.

10:07. Making two of the three pulpit announcements entrusted to me. Forgetting the third.

10:08. Head of Staff calling on me to make the announcement I forgot to make earlier. It’s for an Easter vigil service, and I manage to describe it without a single use of the word “vigil.”

10:11. College student liturgist who I’ve recruited to lead a memorized call to worship and who is doing a bang-up job of it pauses a little too long between lines, and the organist launches into the opening hymn. Dazed liturgist stammers off the chancel.

10:12. The palm procession is a train of kids parading around the sanctuary waving palms at worshipers who are waving them back at them. Fun.

10:14. Liturgist now leading Prayer of Confession from memory and with drama. He’s goooood.

10:18. As children scramble forward for the Time with The Children (where the very creative, forward-thinking, interactive T-shirt activity is to take place), someone tells me that most people wouldn’t take the shirts when they came in. Uh oh. The whole Time with The Children, Scripture lesson, and sermon depend almost entirely on lots of people having these shirts to lay down in the center aisle. Hadn’t considered for a moment that people might actually decline taking them.

10:22. Whatever. There’s enough. It’ll work. Remembering that I work with competent and creative people who can cover over my lack of preparation.

10:25. Launching into my first attempt at Biblical storytelling. With lots of guidance from the inestimable Casey Wait Fitzgerald, I’ve practiced these dozens of times this week. Now suddenly afraid I’m going to trip down the chancel steps.

10:27. Still on my feet.

11:01. Liturgist now leading a memorized charge and benediction. Hoping he realizes he’s just creating a need for himself.

11:12. Man from Jerusalem informs me that I misstated the distance from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. I’d said “22 miles” because that’s what Google Maps had showed me, depicting a long circular route. When I explain this, the man from Jerusalem says, “That’s because of the occupation. It’s really walking distance.” Remember that I know nothing about anything in the world that’s important.

11:25. Making plans to meet Wife and Daughter for lunch in an hour after I lead the Lenten small group.

12:45. Lenten small group still going.

1:03. Arrive at the restaurant where Wife and Daughter have finished their meals and mine is waiting for me. Wife=the best.

1:30. Check the At Bat app on my phone prior to heading home. Pleased to find the Royals have rallied in the 8th to take a 3-2 lead against the Twins. Eager to get home and watch the end.

1:38. Arrive home just in time to find that the Royals are now behind 4-3. Sigh.

1:52. Royals lose. Nap time.

1:55. Daughter excitedly showing me her sticker book creation.

1:57. Cats nestling in that crook between my knee and ankle.

1:58. Daughter jumping on my stomach and asking why the Royals lose so much.

2:12. Trying to teach Daughter to open Netflix by herself so I won’t have to get off the couch.  She can totally do it, and now, I realize, my life is very different from what it was a minute ago.

2:37. Giving up on nap. Making coffee.

2:46. Show wife newspaper article about Disney on Ice this coming weekend.

2:48. Receive text message confirmation of ticket purchase to Disney on Ice. Wait, what?

3:43. Getting daughter ready for play rehearsal. It’s production week. And Holy Week. Awesome.

4:19. Leaving for youth groups. Need more coffee.

4:48. Jr. high student divulges that her login name for Webkins used to be “ChaCha143.” Her peers are now resolved to call her that for the rest of the day.

4:52. Student says, “I tried to give up sweets for Lent, but that didn’t work.” Me: “Why didn’t it work?” Student: “They’re just really good.”

4:55. Urging students to take one week Lenten disciplines. Here’s a commitment: “I commit to being nice to everybody this week. Except my brother.”

5:06. Playing “Run on The Bank” outside, crouching in the bushes with a student. This violates every risk management policy we have.

5:08. Student in camo’s is telling everyone “get down!” Dude, this is a church game, not Call of Duty.

5:48. Intern has brought white wine vinegar for students to smell as we hear the passion story. Student in camo’s drinks some. I love junior high.

6:30. Gathering with high school students at the multiplex for Noah.

6:50. Not appreciating the trailer for “The Other Woman” with my group of high school dudes.

7:22. When Anthony Hopkins appears as Methuselah, whisper to the Youth Volunteer next to me, “Of course it’s Anthony Hopkins. Was Morgan Freeman not available?” Her answer: “Morgan Freeman is God.”

9:30. Dropping a student off home.

9:43. Home. Wife has made daughter’s lunch and prepped everything for Monday morning. Wife=bestbestbest.