I got to church at 7.50 this morning to find all the palm crosses had been lost in the recent building works. It brought back in horrid clarity my first ever Palm Sunday as a cleric.
As a deacon I had been entrusted with the Passion narrative and had adapted it into a dramatized version. I had printed it out with the parts in different colours and had even rehearsed it. I got up early feeling pleased with it all. And then the phone rang.
The priest at a neighboring church was sick. He couldn't get to the church so would I get over there fast please.
Served me right for being smug of course!
I was to call into his house en route,pick up his lap top where I would find the service all ready to project onto the big screen on church.
Full of misgivings I got to church half an hour early. No screen as yet so I looked for the service. It was not where the incumbent said it was. Panic mounted as one of the men started to erect the big screen.
I handed the lap top to someone else. He couldn't find it either.
A mother arrived to say the donkey was ready!
No service, a screen all the congregation hated and now a donkey.
It was starting to feel more like a night mare than a service in church.
The large palm branches were stacked at the back of the church and five minutes to go there was still no service. I was not able to do a communion as a deacon so I had to rack my brains.
We enacted the journey into Jerusalem complete with small children dressed as donkeys outside the church.
Back inside there was still no service on the screen.
I did the whole thing off the cuff , the organist holding up the numbers of the hymns every time I paused! Almost at the end I realized that I had yet to pray! They were particularly heart felt that morning.
The congregation loved it....the church warden handed out the Palm crosses grinning from ear to ear whilst I collapsed in a heap!
This was the church warden I subsequently married. So the whole thing wasn't a complete nightmare!
Fingers crossed for the rest of the day!
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