Monday, October 12, 2009

You Have to be Kidding

There are two women out right now, buying material and preparing a Halloween costume for me. Their project began when our church decided to do something special for the kids in our town on "Beggar's Night," and one of the ladies suggested that we dress as Bible characters. Fair enough, so I "volunteered" to dress as Jonah. Quicker than you could say "Me and my big mouth," the idea was born to dress the preacher as Jonah being swallowed by the fish. I've seen the pattern these crafty ladies have in mind, and I can't begin to describe it to you.
I can tell you that I've been nearly the victim of several plots hatched by church members who were determined to have fun at the preacher's expense. Don't ask me what they were thinking. I haven't a clue. At least the ladies in our church are dressing me all in fun. I'm not too sure about the others.
One church wanted me to ride down the isle on a "stick" pony - during the Sunday morning service - while the pianist and organist played "Circuit Ridin' Preacher."
Another church insisted that my wife and I participate in an egg toss so they could watch me being plastered with raw eggs. When my wife and I won the game, one deacon was so sure we had cheated that he insisted on squeezing the egg to prove it was a fake. The egg exploded and he was covered in yoke.
A third church wanted to "paddle" me for my birthday. I drew the line at that and insisted that the ministry needed to guard its dignity - what I had left of it. I probably offended some people by not going along with their prank - no, I'm sure of it - but what were they thinking? Somehow, I can't visualize D. Martyn-Lloyd Jones going along with being paddled for his birthday. Or Spurgeon. Or John R. Rice, for that matter. Not that I approach any of those men, but then, when does the preacher begin to preserve the esteem due his office if he is constantly treated as the class clown?
The difference between my church now and those of the past is that this church knows where to draw the line. They have not allowed a little fun to desecrate the office of pastor and I appreciate that. For the record, I didn't ride the stick pony either. But I will dress up as Jonah for the kids and have a little fun on Beggar's Night. On Sunday, I'll be back in the pulpit and the people will still look at me as their pastor. No kidding.

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