Tuesday, May 25, 2004

This past Sunday, as I was nearing the end of my sermon and, I thought, making some really good points :-) the fire alarm went off. The ushers quickly ascertained that there was no fire but that the alarm had malfunctioned. It rang, and rang, and rang with deafening shrillness for about 5 or 6 minutes. This demonstrated, once again, how time is a relative thing. Usually, 5 or 6 minutes is not a long time; however, when standing on the pulpit looking stupidly at 450 people while a dozen others are running around trying to figure out how to shut down the racket so that the service can continue, let me tell you: 5 or 6 minutes is a long time! It also takes the wind out of a preacher's sails.

That evening I was telling a colleague about our experience. Now, this colleague has a reputation for being somewhat mischievous. He asked me what I had said when the ringing had stopped. I told him that I had said something like, "Well, this is one service we will never forget," and then picked up the thread of my sermon and completed it within a few minutes. He told me he would have said, "And, brothers and sisters, that's what it will sound like in hell -- all the time without ever stopping!"