I am a ‘woman of od’. Mainly this is because my mobile phone will currently not allow me to tap in the letter ‘g’. If it doesn’t sort out this (g)litch soon, I will have to (g)et a new one. So here, while I am a ‘woman of Od’ are some of the slightly more bizarre thin(g)s that have happened recently. (It’s about time this blo(g) cheered up)
One baby: Two ministers
Solomon had his challenge of one baby and two mothers but generally when you go on a baptism visit there might be more than one baby, but usually there is only one minister there.
So it was somewhat of a surprise when on a baptism visit, a mere 10 minutes into my little explanation, I noticed Mum looking out the front window in agitated manner.
I looked at her quizzically.
‘That would be the other minister just turning up’.
The ‘other‘ minister??? I’m sorry? did you say the ‘other minister?’
Now to be fair, we do kind of know that our parishioners might ask around in several places before deciding where to have their child baptised but usually they see the ministers one at a time.
Hilarious! Thank goodness the ‘other minister’ was from a Christian church, it could have been kind of tricky if they’d have been Mormons (do Mormons baptise? I probably ought to know) Anyway, it was the very nice local lady Methodist minister so that was all right then. She and I now have a much clearer understanding of each other’s view on baptism, how very ecumenical.
(In fairness to Mum, it had been her other half who, unbeknown to her, had made the arrangement with the Methodist minister. But Mum gave such a lovely account of God’s presence in her life, either of us would have been delighted to baptise the child).
All good fun!
One congregation: no communion wafers
This was another big ‘oops’ that really ought to have been avoided. I was taking communion ‘by extension’ (which for non-Anglicans means I use bread and wine that has been pre-consecrated by a priest, because I am a mere deacon) and I had got to the bit in the service when I had invited the congregation forward to receive.
‘Receive the body of Christ’ I said as I picked up the ciborium and prepared to lay out the wafers on the paten (Yes, these are the technical terms for the cup that holds the consecrated wafers and the plate we lay them on prior to distribution, I trust you’re impressed that I know them).
I removed the lid and … (ta da!): Nothing!
Not having enough wafers is sometimes a problem (solution: ‘break ’em in half’ – the wafers that is, not the parishioners). But not having ANY, that was a new one. Now depending on your theology you may believe that ‘something’ happens to the bread and wine when the priest prays over it (the technical term is epiclesis, but it’s more commonly known as ‘magic hands’) . Well clearly I didn’t have any – magic hands, that is. If only I could have put the lid back on, open it again and ‘Lo, there would be wafers’.
Sadly, not. Jesus may have fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves but it took a loud stage whisper, several minutes of faffing about and long dignified silence before I had a ciborium full with wafers. Consecrated ones even! (There was a priest in the building, phew!).
Moral of this story: always check inside the ciborium when you are laying the table.
I like my stories to come in threes but nothing funny has yet happened at a funeral (and even if it did I’d probably never be allowed to tell. Yes, in case you were worrying, I did have permission from the people involved the other stories) So I’ve had to pinch this final story, it’s probably not true but still very funny.
An inexperienced preacher was to hold a graveside burial service at a pauper’s cemetery for an indigent man with no family or friends. Not knowing where the cemetery was, he made several wrong turns and got lost. When he eventually arrived an hour late, the hearse was nowhere in sight, the backhoe was next to the open hole, and the workmen were sitting under a tree eating lunch.
The diligent young pastor went to the open grave and found the vault lid already in place. Feeling guilty because of his tardiness, he preached an impassioned and lengthy service, sending the deceased to the great beyond in style.
As he returned to his car, he overheard one of the workman say to the other, “I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years and I ain’t never seen anything like that.”
I love the 2 ministers for a baptism story; as someone who spent years involved with Churches Together I’d like to think you could both be involved in the service in some way.
As a Baptist I find your problem over the wafers odd in some ways but I also wonder if we have lost some of the mystery.
Finally I will always remember my father’s funeral for the amount of laughter. I can’t post that so here are the first and last paragraphs of my tribute to a man who always saw the funny side of life whatever the situation:
“To me he was Dad or sometimes Father, to most of you he was Gerald or, I’ve no doubt, a few other things.
I hope this has given you some idea of the incredibly active and friendly man I knew as Dad. I thought I’d found a way to sum him up on the shelf in his bathroom – Old Spice, Original, High Endurance. It seemed to give a picture to remember him by, but then I found this quotation from A. P. Herbert:
“When we laugh, richly and gloriously, without restraint and bitterness, we forget ourselves and the world and we are as angels looking down on life, laughing at it but loving it.””