Saturday, January 29, 2005

What to do when the preacher has laryngitis

I just barely made it through a sermon yesterday (Friday), the final Amen kind of squawking rather than speaking, but still, the Word got preached. Now it's Saturday, and I'm wondering if I'll have any voice tomorrow. Thankfully, there are a few options, but on the drive to the coffee shop, I had a little brainstorming session on what to do if indeed you lose your voice, and no one is available in a pinch to preach in your place. The following is my list, sometimes with comments.

1) Skip the sermon. The liturgy can preach itself in a pinch, although the preached word is an integral part of the Divine Liturgy, and this isn't my favorite option.

2) Find a replacement. When I mentioned this option yesterday, there were more than a few panicked faces. Luckily, my friend Greg just happens to be stopping through on the way to his new teaching position, so I could ask him to pull a sermon from his back pocket. Nevertheless, unless your congregation is packed with lay ministers steeping in the tradition of ex temporere preaching, this one is a bit difficult last minute.

3) Writing something out and have somebody else read it. This would work if I actually wrote my sermons out.

4) Have somebody read a sermon by somebody else. This is a solid idea, one I learned from Richard Lischer, but have yet to use. Must create a file.

5) Dance or pantomime the sermon. This sounds like a good idea if you could convince people you hadn't gone crazy.

6) Play a pre-recorded sermon from a previous service. We do have audio archives of my sermons, but how eisegetical might this be?

7) Do a contemplative sermon, with brief comments interspersed with long pauses for the congregation to use for their own time of thought.

8) Ask the congregation for testimonials. Hmmmmmm...

9) Just fail to show up at church, and see what they do without you. "Sorry, I slept in..."

10) Have it be a time of mutual consolation of the saints, where the congregation sits and talks to each other and finds a word to speak to each person's situation.


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