The late Jerry Lyon had a poster up in the old News Office that I enjoyed so much, we kept it posted for a number of years. In essence, it stated that we at the News make mistakes in the paper just so you, the readers, will have something to hunt for in each edition!
Last week, you wouldn't have had to hunt very far!
The Graduation Supplement, which we had finished on Thursday prior, could have used another pass from the proofreaders. We switched the Valedictorian and Salutatorian labels. We completely left one student out of the publication. And, it got printed in the wrong order so that the pages didn't appear quite as they should have. Thanks to our friends at the press, we have another opportunity this week to honor our graduates. I haven't seen the final printed version yet; but, I'm confident that everything will look fine this time!
My mistakes here at the News are very public. When I have a wrong name, a misspelled word or a badly printed photo, everyone in town will know in a short time. People who live in Mason often joke that everyone knows your personal business; but, I can truly claim that everyone knows my business on a weekly basis. Fortunately, we always have the next edition in which we can try to make amends. And, then we move on.
Our lives are very public here in Mason County. People know when we're dating someone. They know when relationships end. They know if we've had legal trouble. And, they know when we've had successes. Like an extended family, all the members of the community have seen us at our best or our worst, and they've seen us at all points along the journey.
It's a wonderful feeling to know that you can count on so many people when you most need them. It's also very intimidating to realize that if you should stumble and fall, there will be an audience to watch you taking a dive into the dirt.
I've had all these conflicted feelings ever since Pastor Colleen Haley asked me to deliver the lay sermon this Sunday while she's away at Church Conference. When I finally said yes, after lots of prayer and contemplation, I only then realized that I wasn't going to just be delivering the sermon at the two services, I was going to be leading the entire service.
My friend, Sean Reardon, knew that I was nervous, so he also put himself out on the same limb by volunteering to serve as the lay reader at both services. Though I am reassured by the fact that he will be just across the altar from me, I couldn't have counted on the response from all the folks who know the two of us.
They know that Sean and I have traveled to Las Vegas and New Orleans, and it wasn't on missionary trips. They know that, when the two of us are together, there are usually cold beverages, loud music and colorful language.
I'm excited and terrified about our upcoming church service. I know that many people are just going to show up to see if we replace the grape juice with wine (not going to happen, with no pastor there is no communion, so no problem). I'm also filled with a spirit of promise for the service.
I am a very flawed person who has made many public mistakes in my life. The opportunity to share my faith with my community and to witness to my friends, family and fellow residents fills me with a joy that I can not fully express. This may be another time for me to fall flat on my face; but, I'm counting on God to find a way to use me for the greater good. And, I hope my words, bolstered by The Word, will find a receptive audience.
In the words of the late Louise Vater, "See you the church of your choice."
It’s all just my opinion.