Saturday, May 24, 2014

I am resisting the urge to call this post "On fire for the Lord"

Photo by Cami Macaya Palma, licensed under Creative Commons.

I was working on my sermon last night when the kids set the microwave on fire.

River Valley Presbyterian is having its "grand opening" on June 8th, but we're having smaller  "dry-run" services until then, and I volunteered to preach for one of them. I've given one or two sermons a year since seminary, which is enough to get over the worst of the nervousness. But I was at that moment in writing a sermon where I wondered why on earth I volunteered for this and wouldn't it be nicer to go hide in the basement instead.

Then my daughter ran into the study and said, "Mom! The microwave is full of smoke!" I ran downstairs and sure enough, clouds of smoke were billowing out of the microwave and filling the kitchen. I told the kids to get out of the house. They stood there slack-jawed. I told them to get out of the house NOW. They did.

I turned off the microwave and when I didn't see flame, I opened the door. One of the kids had tried to warm up a breadstick, and it was a charred, sticky cinder on the tray. There appeared to be no other damage.

I brought the kids back in and we discussed the protocol for getting out of the house if there was a fire. We also discussed microwaves. We opened up all the doors and fanned away smoke till the air cleared. Things settled down, or at least returned to the ordinary chaos.

One of the challenges of starting a new church is that ordinary life doesn't stop. There is a mountain of new work to do, but all the old things - like making sure your kids don't burn the house down - still need to be done too. The Christian faith is support and comfort for daily life, not a remedy for it. One of the least glamorous parts of the Christian life is the way God gives us competing vocations and waits for us to ask his help in managing our time. The holiest pastor you ever met is still a man who schedules meetings and visits the dentist and puts his dirty socks in the hamper (or gets crabbed at for not doing it).

I went back to my sermon and, in the way of preachers, I tried to think of a way to work this story into the sermon. Come by this Sunday at 4 pm and you can see if I succeeded.

In the meantime, I'm in charge of all the microwaving for a while.

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