Given my personality preferences, preparing for worship is not a highly detailed experience. I have learned to play and work with the detail-oriented folks over the years--but it's not completely for my benefit. To some degree, I am usually scrambling before a worship service about some detail. I suppose some of this pattern is related to interim ministry. By the time I am truly accustomed to flow of a congregation, it's time for me to go to the next congregation. However, there are days where any pastor is scrambling before a worship service because something has gone far off track. Sunday was one of those days.
Our music director, Bruce Ewen, had a bad fall while working at the local community theater. Though he attempted to play (he thought he may have had a broken arm), I wanted him to have doctors look at his injuries, and told him we could take care of things. We have several musicians in the congregation, but the ones who could probably help us immediately weren't available (at least in my limited time and understanding). With about 45 minutes before worship, I wasn't sure how we were going to pull everything off.
Madeleine Folkerts (above, playing one of the pieces used Sunday) was scheduled to play one piece, but she played a few extra pieces for the service--a postlude, some communion music and some meditative/prayerful pieces. Amy Hutchison accompanied in a pinch, and played beautifully so we didn't have to sing a cappella at the 930 and 11am services for Amazing Grace and Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee. Without Pastor Orv and Bruce around, I was dashing around and trying to maintain a sense of calm and decorum--with side dishes of humor and flexibility.
I even changed my sermon around a bit (though still focusing on 1 Corinthians 9: 19-27)--I was preaching about discipline and change, and I ended up preaching that in the Christian life, discipline is not for discipline's own sake. Discipline is not meant for someone in authority to control or abuse others. Discipline is a gift especially for the times of adversity. We even hosted a Tae Kwon Do demonstration during the sermon to lift visually depict the positive nature of discipline. We focus on Word and Sacrament as an extension of God's love and forgiveness, but also a discipline that brings together the people of God, so that sharing the Sacraments are part of our habits, even though the world around us may be in turmoil.
Looking back, the day of worship was blessed. The day didn't look blessed in the beginning. Maintaining calm and prayer were the first priorities. The day was blessed because of the faithfulness of God and the response of many in the body of Christ.