Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Busy Weekend

by Scott Dalen

Its been something of an eventful few days. Friday morning, my wife left on her annual service trip with about 35 youth and adults. This leaves me in what I tend to call Mr Mom mode. All in all, its not a bad thing. Things tend to go fine, especially during the week. I go to work and the kids go to day-care so throughout the course of the day, its business as usual. The only real difference is that I'm alone with the kids during the evenings, but they go to bed early (about 7:30 or so) so I've got the evenings to myself.

The time when we really notice that mommy is gone is during the weekends when we are together all day. This weekend has been no exception, but so far, as of Sunday afternoon, we have survived. Friday night we went to the video store and rented some movies. After the kids went to bed, I sat down to do a little bit of prep work for church for the weekend. I was filling in for the pastor to give him a week of from preparing a sermon. I had the sermon ready to go but needed to work out a few logistical things for the Saturday night service.

As is my normal custom, I tend to stay up too late when my wife is gone. Not sure why I do it, but I always seem to. You'd think I would learn that the kids don't care how late I stay up. They are going to be awake early. Saturday was no exception. They both got up and around before 7am, and we all sat around for a little while. However, I went to work after a bit as the lawn really needed mowing. As that was in process, I discovered that a Firefighter Parade was happening in the morning as opposed to at noon as I originally thought. But fortunately I finished up the mowing at just the right time and the kids and I went next door to watch the parade from our neighbors yard. I had to make about three trips back to the house for different things...first lawn chairs...then bags for candy...and finally for hats to keep the sun out of our faces...but then we sat and enjoyed the parade of various firetrucks from surrounding communities. To explain the parade, its in honor of my towns 100 year anniversary.

Late afternoon, my mom came over to hang out with the kids while I headed out to church. Our music guy is also off this weekend but we had a special guest. Dr. Tim Schmidt, a music professor at Waldorf College in eastern Iowa. He is a fabulous musician despite being legally (but not completely) blind. The Saturday night service went very smoothly, and I was pleased with the result. Afterward I headed home to have some supper. I got the kids ready for bed and once they were in bed I once again did my prep work for this mornings 2 services.

The first service (in the summertime) is a drive in worship. We've been doing it at our church for eons, but this was my first experience preaching there. I've helped with the service before but this was the first time I've been in the pulpit. Mom and Dad had come over to keep the kids and had actually managed to get the parking spot directly in front of the stage.

I preached from the text including the Parable of the Good Samaritan. I focused on our personal connection to the man who is beaten/robbed within the parable and as an example, I highlighted the fact that I had to accept help a year ago when I nearly drowned. It occurred to me as I was in the pulpit, looking out and seeing my parent watching me through the windshield, that they didn't know that story. I had never told them. I guess sometimes when preaching, we have to lay out things about ourselves don't we?

All in all the drive in went fine, other than Dr. Schmidt knocking his glasses off at the end of a particularly vigorous song. But that was our only main hiccup. From there I headed back inside for the regular service. Again, things went well in this service, with one pretty major exception. Dr. Schmidt had a microphone stand set up right in front of him and also had a light over his music to help his limited eyesight. About midway through the service, I noticed that the mic stand was dangerously close to falling off a step. I thought very strongly about getting up and moving it, but I was not in time. It fell over, dragging the reading light with it.

The light was trashed, so I had to think fast. Dr. Schmidt was playing a song that he has memorized next, so I went on a quick "safari" to find another light. Fortunately, I was able to find one, and the next time he needed the light, it was there. In the end, we rolled with the punches just fine and everyone got a laugh out of the situation, so no great worry.

Several people paid me the compliment of saying that I appear very relaxed when leading worship. I guess I play that card well, though my brain is constantly going. I'm watching everything...the power point, checking the order of worship, wondering if things are going okay in the sound booth, etc. All these things are rattling through my mind with one exception. When its time for the sermon, I am able to quiet my mind.

I recently read an article about pro athletes having the ability to shut off the outside world. Namely, they can block out things that would distract them and then just focus on what they are doing. I think I do a touch of that same thing when preaching. I remember several times when a mom with a young child will come up and apologize for how loud the child was during the sermon. Most often, I didn't even notice. The same thing happened today as well, but once again, I didn't even hear the disruption. I did see her get up and walk out with the baby, but that was just fine.

If you're curious, you can hear my sermon here. Go to the link and look at the right side of the'll see a list of recent sermons.

All in all, things went well with leading worship this weekend. No one even had to throw anything at me...unless you count the light that went flying through the air.


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