I absolutely love my pastor. I come away from each and every sermon with something profound, something else of historical value, something else of literary merit (He was an English Major) and then, always something that rises up as potential for an article…or a book title…or an idea begging for exploration.
Every Sunday I end up scribbling one or five things worth hanging onto, things I may develop later when I’m so moved. Over the years he’s given me ideas for a children’s book series on odd characters of the Bible, a great quote about creeping legalism by Gordon Fee as “Hardening of the Categories,” and deeper insight into the mind of God. He even creates new words that frankly should be added to the Webster Dictionary; “Irkible” being my favorite. “Lord, remove from me any irkible spirit that lies within.”
So it was a nice break from all things theological to have him provide me with a simple moment of levity. He was talking about Moses, the children of Israel, and the much longed for “land of milk and honey.” But unfortunately, what came out of his mouth was “…the land of mucous and honey.”
We all squinted our eyes to test our ears to see in our minds’ rewind features if what we think he just said was actually what he had just said. He kept talking, hoping no one would pick it up. But one by one, we began to realize what had just been said. And one by one, shoulders began that telltale jiggling consistent with a laugh being vigorously supressed.
Soon he had to own it. Too many shoulders were dancing about the room. Too many hands were pressed firmly over their mouths. Too many people were no longer able to absorb any new information as they were all terribly busy trying to not laugh out loud.
He paused. Claimed ownership to the misspoken mucous (it was, afterall, cold season) and the entire room burst forth with the laughter they’d been holding in.
There’s a lesson in there about loving confrontation, about owning up to mistakes, about sharing the burden of missteps with community. God would approve. After all, He was always asking people questions, the answers to which He already knew perfectly well. Why? So that we’d own up to our condition. He doesn’t start the fixing process till we do the admission process.
So for all the wonderful insights that my pastor purposefully provides Sunday after Sunday, even in his missteps, he still comes through. The Spirit can make anything a teachable moment. Don’t miss this one. In the end it all comes down to this…claim your mucous.