The parson was doing a little shopping in the kitchen store at the outlet mall. New grater and cheese slicer in hand he approached to checkout counter. He'd just completed his purchase when he heard a voice over his shoulder.
“What's up, Parson? Planning to hone your culinary skills?”
The parson turned to find Sam Abbott smiling brightly. Sam was a new pastor, having been ordained only ten months ago. He served, admirably the parson thought, a small church with tremendous potential about twenty miles south of the parson's parish.
“Sam,” the parson returned delighted to see him. “What brings you out into the country?”
“Culinary arts, Parson. Just like you. But in my case my wife is the artist. She sent me to pick up some things for her.”
“Well, it's good to see you,” the parson responded as he thanked the clerk, took his bag and stepped back for Sam to check his merchandise out.
Sam completed his time with the cashier and he and the parson walked outside. No sooner had they gotten beyond the door than Same piped in, “Parson, I just have to ask you: How in the world do you handle it?”
“Handle what?” the parson asked.
“Holy Week, Holy Week. I've got to tell you, Parson, I had no idea. I have to prepare five sermons this week. Five sermons. Oh, great look at you with your all knowing smile. You've got a well of sermons to draw from. I'm just starting. Every sermon is a new one for me. I have to start from scratch. So, have a little mercy on me, would you?”
The parson smiled even bigger. “Sam, I'm not smiling because I have a sermon already for the Holy Week services. I'm smiling because ….” The parson paused a moment. “Look, Sam, here's the thing. I went to my first church in June of 1965. On April 3rd of 1966 I was standing right where you are now. It was Holy Week and I had enough trouble preparing one sermon a week. So I'm certainly understanding of where you are now.”
“Maybe so, but you're still smiling.”
“I'm smiling, Sam, because on Easter Sunday of 1966 I knew that during Holy Week of 2012 I'd have to preach a sermon on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, at least. You'd think that in all those years I'd have learned something from that experience. But the truth is, Sam, I haven't got a clue what I'm going to preach on Thursday. So, while you're fretting tonight over your sermon you say a prayer for the old parson up the road who's rowing the same boat you are.”