Most pastors have a book for funerals, weddings and other special functions.
It was a busy week, as I remember it now. Had I had my groove, and been paying attention to what I was doing, it would never have occurred. Nevertheless, it did.
I had been called to do the funeral of some relative of a prominent family in the church. This person had never been in our church and I had never met him. But, he was related to one of the faithful in the church and without hesitation I agreed to do the funeral. Most of the people attending the funeral were unknown to me. Thus, they were getting the first (and with some the worse) glimpse of me and my pastoral decorum.
I opened my book to read the funeral service. How was I to know I had the wrong page? With a solemn voice appropriate to the occasion I read, "Ladies and gentlemen we are gathered together here to unite this man and this woman in holy matrimony."
The words aroused my mind from its lethargic repast and I started to sweat with all the vigor of a minister giving his first public sermon. I was too far into the service to back up. Furthermore, I did not know the grieving family well enough to smile this one off.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Have you ever been in a serious position where a giggle, even the slightest hint of a giggle, was out of place? As you can imagine, a funeral is no place for jocularity.
But I got tickled.
What do you do when you get tickled when you are not suppose to get tickled? The more you try to suppress it the worse it gets.
I did everything I could to clear my head and return to some semblance of solemnity. I coughed. I blew my nose. I cleared my throat. Nothing seemed to work. It only got worse.
Finally, I thought it would be a good time to pray. I managed to say in a giggle–suppressed whisper, "Folks, join me in a moment of silent prayer." Never have I been so thankful for prayer in my life.
It was then I decided that no matter what the cost, I needed to get that old "groove" back. It really was not all that difficult. My appeal was made to the Lord in response to His gracious invitation in Matthew 11: 28–30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
I got my "groove" back. With my groove back, I have a better outlook on life.