So we had a little surprise for the people in church tonight.
You see, the fifth Sunday of a month is always scheduled to be "Youth Sunday." Sometimes that means they just help out with the service as ushers and readers and whatnot, sometimes that means they are in charge of everything and plan skits to perform, occasionally (and this is their favorite) it means they do a mime service, with music and readings. Unfortunately, there are some people who highlight these days on their calendars as days that they will be missing church. Makes me sad, and somewhat angry, but really it's their choice and if they don't get anything out of a youth service then it might be best for them to not be there.
Well, some of the people on the Youth Ministry Committee (one of whom is also conveniently on the Worship Committee) decided that for Palm/Passion Sunday that since the Gospel reading is so long, that we could involve the youth and have them mime some of the reading.
And it's not a fifth Sunday.
So the youth were in a downstairs restroom changing and putting on makeup as the people rolled in. Supervising Pastor and I were upstairs handing out palm leaves and bulletins and schmoozing. The first part of the service went like normal. Although they could see that the Gospel reading was a bit out of whack in the bulletin. I got up and preached a short sermon, which isn't too out of character, but it was much shorter than what I've been managing to work up to lately. And, as it was just supposed to serve as a bridge between the processional Gospel of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and the whole Passion narrative, I really left it kind of open ended. I think the congregation might have been confused. But then, after the passing of the peace, when I snuck out the back and went up to the balcony and Supervising Pastor began reading the Passion narrative, and then music started playing from up in the balcony, and then the youth started coming in with their faces painted white, I think the congregation knew something was up. Afterwards, they received several compliments, even though we did go over our hour time limit by *gasp* fifteen minutes!!
Then, after the service, several of the youth and two other adults and I were standing around and realized we were all hungry, so we decided to go out for pizza. So we were at the Pizza Hut and eating pizza and having a good old time. Then the bill came, and all the kids started saying "All I brought was a $20." or "All I have is a $10." So I just grabbed the bill and paid for it. To be nice. And it really wasn't all that expensive. Of course, one of the girls said, "That was nice of you, Mark. Why did you do that? Are we like your social life?" "Ouch," I thought. "That hit a bit close to home." But then I told myself that it was only one supper, and the kids deserved it for doing a good job, and if I relied on them for all of my social needs THEN it would be a problem. Then we went for ice cream afterwards. I only paid for my ice cream, though.
But now I am tired, and there is work to do tomorrow, and so I will be going to bed. My nice, warm bed is beckoning. I can hear it.