Yesterday was a near disaster at the early worship service.
First, the laptop computer, which we use to project the service onto screens, died. We don’t know why. It just blank-screened about 10 minutes before the service was to start. Since we no longer print the entire service in the bulletin, we rely heavily on the screens for words to the songs and the Scripture readings, as well as spoken congregational responses throughout the service. We ended up using my laptop and it worked fine. But since we didn’t have time to fine-tune it, the aspect ratio was wrong and all the words on the screens were squished and harder to read.
Then the second Scripture reading was wrong. Or more accurately, it was correct on the screens, but wrong on the printed copy that the reader was using at the lectern. This was entirely my fault. I inadvertently added a couple of extra verses at the beginning of the reading on the reader’s printed copy. So from the get-go, the screens didn’t match what the reader was reading. The poor computer operator—already traumatized by the computer’s crash—was so confused that she flipped ahead in the slides, thinking she’d somehow gotten behind. By the time the reader caught up to the screen, the reading was over. At least the reading wasn’t too long.
Then one of our members passed out during the prayers. He’s OK, but it necessitated trying to finish the prayers while a group gathered around the passed-out man and no one was really listening to the prayers any longer. The prayer leader gamely continued to pray despite the distraction. When the prayers were done, we shared the peace and took up the offering and sat for a few minutes while things calmed down. Eventually, the passed-out fellow was alert enough to be put in a wheelchair and we moved him to the narthex to await the ambulance. And the service continued for the rest of us.
But the fun was not quite done. During the distribution of communion, one of the communion hymns on the screen was wrong. The organist played one tune (the correct one) and the words on the screen were from another tune and the words didn’t fit with the tune—not even close. So after a few lines of trying to make the words fit with the music, the congregation gave up singing and the organist just played a solo until the song was done.
Between services, we fixed it all. The aspect ratio, the reading, and the words to the song. For the second service, everything went swimmingly. No one passed out, so that was a plus.
The entire morning service fiasco has provided much discussion fodder both on Sunday morning and today. We’ve had some good laughs about it and everyone involved may do a little more checking their pieces of the puzzle over the next few weeks. For my part, I am hoping we got all our mistakes out of our system(s) so that Holy Week and Easter worship are mainly error-free.
Sometimes life happens. Curves are thrown, we get careless, we misunderstand, we throw up our hands in frustration. Sometimes we can fix things and sometimes we cannot. But in the end, the Lord is Lord and we are not. Life happens, mistakes are made, but we survive and the Lord is still the Lord. In the case of yesterday’s service, despite the human errors, the people of God heard the Word, shared the Meal and gave thanks to their Creator. And at the end of the day, the Lord was still the Lord and that is all that really mattered.