Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sermon ain't over 'til the fat lady sings

Sometimes a preacher's words just don't come out right.
A pastor in Louisiana was praying at a graveside service. As he prayed for the deceased, he said, "Thank you, God that..." and he named an elderly lady who was sitting in the chair by the grave, instead of the lady in the casket. Oops! He stopped, said the correct name, and went on. What else was he going to do? He couldn't say, "God, thank you that so-and-so isn't dead, too!"
A certain preacher was waxing eloquent in his sermon, and he felt the need to explain that he was not quite finished. So he said, "I won't be finished preaching until the fat lady sings," an obvious reference to that great American proverbial statement, "It ain't over until the fat lady sings."
Shortly after saying this, the preacher concluded his sermon, and a soloist came to sing the last song of the service. She was, um...chubby. Polite people would say she was big boned. To put it bluntly, she was a fat lady. The preacher's face turned blood red. Graciously, she made a joke about it and the congregation burst out laughing.
Another minister was conscious of the lengthy sermon he delivered the previous Sunday. In an attempt to assure his congregation that this week would be different, he said, "To compensate for last week's sermon of twenty points, this week's sermon will be pointless."
Bloopers are a professional hazard of preachers. It's a simple matter of statistical odds: if you speak frequently, at some point you're going to say something that you wish you had not said.
The Bible says, "Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season." (2 Timothy 4:2, NIV) Sometimes the preacher's words may sound "out of season." But if he's faithful to preach the word, be understanding when he messes up. After all, even the best cook burns the bread sometimes.

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