I had issues this morning.
I have been a pastor now for just over 7 years. I have presided over communion for just over 7 years. I have known the Words of Institution for just over 7 years (even longer than that because I knew well before seminary). But today it was like I have never said those words before.
I was standing up front at Belmont this morning leading worship. I had just received the offering and the congregation was standing. I turned around holding the chalice and began the Words of Institution. The problem is that we start with the bread and then go to the wine (at least that is what I normally do). I found myself lost as I realized that I had the wrong element…so I had to wing it…trying to make it look as if I meant to start with the wine.
I stuttered and stumbled through the Words of Institution like I didn’t know what I was doing. I was totally frazzled and my rhythm was totally gone. I even saw someone out there smile at his wife as he knew I was struggling. I think part of the problem was that I have become so accustomed to the Words of Institution that I found myself relying of the words themselves and not on the proclamation.
That is going to have to change.
My hope and prayer is that people still heard words of promise regardless of my failure. My guess is that they did hear words of promise ~ thanks to the Holy Spirit. I trust that God still used me in some way ~ for you see ~ when I preach and lead worship it is not about what I do but it is about the Holy Spirit working through me. One reason why I am certain of this is because if it were about me; if it were about my speaking ability; if it were about my so-call talents; I would have been fired long ago. But as it is God can use a poor sinner like me to proclaim the Good News.
Praise be to God!
The other explanation of what happened this morning could be that I need a vacation ~ something that will be happening very soon :)