Playful, Pius or Remembered Stuff

Hang out with the old preacher by browsing my blogs.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In the Tomb

It rather frightened me when I took the call to serve the OPC in Wilmington, DE.  I was leaving a tiny new church plant in Neptune, NJ to be the pastor of the fifth largest church in our denomination.  They were going to hire a secretary for me because they finally realized how much work the former pastor had laid upon his shoulders.  Jay Adams was my senior pastor at the time, and I asked him what I was going to do with a secretary.  She can't write my sermons for me.  Jay said, "Put her between you and the phone.  She'll be worth more than 6 assistants."  And that is just what happened.  It was nice to have a charming buffer between you and the irate church member.

But there was no place in the building that was built to be an office.  They took a large closet and made it a tiny office.  We had one window, but being below ground level we could only see daylight from the window well dug below ground level for the purpose.  We had two nice desks in there, but the space was so limited that the desks reached from one wall to the opposing wall with no space between them.  On the counter space immediately behind us as we sat at our desks was the mimeograph machine on which we printed bulletins and other documents.  Needless to say that I spent as little time as necessary in the office.  I set up a nice desk at home, using a varnished wood door supported by two metal filing cabinets of the right hight.  That made a mammoth desk on which I could spread out all my books and papers needed for my current studies.

Vit Paul, my secretary, had an ironic sense of humor.  She named the office "the tomb".  We had to leave the door open all the time for fear of claustrophobia or lack of oxygen or both.  When Presbytery realized that I now had a secretary they elected me Clerk.  I could hand my rough drafts to Vit for her to transcribe into the numbered pages of the Presbytery minute book.  Bottom line was, the time the church saved me by hiring a secretary, was more than used up by my responsibilities as Clerk of Presbytery.

Then there was the day we had a fierce thunderstorm.  Unless you have lived in the east, you do not know what a thunderstorm actually is.  To get the effect you may sit in your car while you get junior to pour a bucket of water slowly over the windshield.  It couldn't have been more than 30 feet from my front door to the car in the driveway, but if I didn't use an umbrella I would be soaked to the skin getting to the car.  This thunderstorm struck on a Sunday afternoon, as I remember.  I was concerned that the tomb (office) might be leaking since it was underground.  I drove over to the church to investigate.  Now a truly wise minister realizes this is a trustee concern.  He learns how to delegate labor.  But I was not a truly wise minister.  My concern about water was not without merit.  When I stepped into the tomb I could see the water above the sill of the window about four inches.  It looked like an aquarium.  And not unexpectedly, the water was leaking copiously through the cracks into the tomb (office).  Instinctively I dashed to the window and opened it!  This swift action of mine, of course, brought that four inches of water immediately onto the floor of the tomb.  So I closed it, of course.  Why, I cannot now tell you.  I think I was hoping the water would still be there in the well instead of on the floor.  At this point I did what I should have done in the first place.  I called one of the trustees and reported the mess.

Aren't there certain instances in everyone's life that are good to recall just for the purpose of maintaining a modicum of humility?

1 comment: