it was an otherwise non-descript, normal, north point summer sunday morning a few years ago. it was pre-rock-the-house band days, but they had just finished playing a good np worship set and the faithful had settled into our old, gray, semi-padded, sleep inhibiting folding chairs to get ready for my usual pearls of bible wisdom.
about five minutes into my sermon, a lady got up and left the auditorium. this lady and her husband were visiting on this sunday. they were former members who were back in the area for the weekend and wanted to join us for worship. as she walked out, i honestly didn’t think anything about it since many north pointers wait until my sermon starts to take their morning potty break.
about five minutes later, the double doors in the rear of the building opened and in she walked, pausing as the doors closed behind her. while she was paused in the back, i heard this obnoxious wheezing sound. my first thought was that i had no idea this woman was a smoker. emphasema is a drag.
as she made her move across the back of the building towards her seat, i began to notice something really special. pretty much everybody in the building was watching her walk. not only was the wheezing continuing, but there was now another sound. it was this loud “flapping” sound. mmm…
by now, heads were turning and shoulders were shrugging with silent laughter. then i saw what everyone else was seeing…and hearing. this little lady was walking her dog into the auditorium. and not just any dog. it was a huuuge basset hound.
it is amazing how loud the sound of big floppy ears flapping can be.
and the wheezing…
she sat down in her aisle seat and her dog sat loyally next to her. flapping and wheezing. through my entire sermon.
oh yeah. right across the aisle was buzzy. i never saw his face again until he stood up to lead the closing song. all i saw during my sermon was the top of his head buried in his hands. great.
and if that wasn’t bad enough, guess who she was sitting next to in her row? the two biggest children in big church…luke and chris a. they were right in front me, three rows from the front. acting like two middle school boys watching a rerun of dumb and dumber. laughing. pointing. elbowing each other. making faces at me. while i’m preaching from god’s sacred oracles. the whole time i’m preaching.
the whole time this is going on, the woman and her husband sat respectfully and quite oblivious to everything that was going on. incredible.
honestly, i didn’t have a clue what i was preaching. i was too busy watching everybody. it’s a pretty cool thing to be able to carry on a running dialogue with yourself in your head…at the same time you’re preaching a sermon out loud. really weird. you should all try it.
it didn’t really matter that i didn’t have a clue what i was preaching, because nobody…i mean nobody…was listening.
except maybe the basset hound.