We all have recurring nightmares and dreams. It is usually some embarrassing situation about showing up to class wearing only underwear, or giving a presentation in a bathing suit. I still have the dream about being enrolled in a class at Texas A&M and forgetting to attend that class all semester long until finals, when I realize I have to go take a final for a class that I forgot I had.
Preachers have those types of dreams as well. For me, the dream usually involves having to preach and NOT having my bible with me, along with being inappropriately dressed for the occasion of preaching.
I had one such dream last night. Loss of Bible. Unprepared. Inappropriate clothing. But it gets worse than that. I had to preach at the funeral for a horse. Apparently this horse was quite popular in the town in which I lived, in the dream. Everyone knew this horse, well, except me. In fact, I didn’t know of the horses existence until it ceased to exist in the dream. Everyone said I would do just fine preaching at the horses funeral.
I was really worried about what I would say about the horse. In the dream, I figured that I could open my sermon telling about my favorite childhood pet, Joey Jet, and how everyone has a favorite pet. Then I would transition smoothly into talking about the deceased horse, G. Shepherd, that was the horses name. But that is as far as I got in my sermon because I really couldn’t talk about how G. Shepherd was a great Christian and all, because G. Shepherd was just a horse. What was I supposed to do? How was I going to tie the gospel into the eulogy about this rather special horse? What made this horse so darn special? Why did I agree to do this funeral in the first place? Didn’t I have some policy about only preaching for human funerals? What was I thinking?
And then there was the problem of my clothing. I could have sworn that I had grabbed my blue blazer when I left the house for the funeral. Yet, even wearing that, without a tie, was completely inappropriate. When the thousands of people started showing up to the ultra-big auditorium where the funeral services were being held, I realized that I would have been fine with my blue blazer and cowboy boots. But I wasn’t wearing my blue blazer. I had a bath robe. It was a white bath robe with yellow polka dots. Where in the world did this come from? I don’t own a white bath robe with yellow polka dots? O my…
I tried to make an excuse about my appearance, so I could leave and go home and change, but no one would let me. They said they knew I was poor and if all I had to wear was a white bath robe with yellow polka dots to preach at G. Shepherd’s funeral, that was OK by them (I think most of them were rednecks, but I’m not sure).
But then… what would I preach on? I thought about the passage of the four horsemen of the apocalypse….
And the order of worship? Where was the order of worship?
I tried to find out some of this from the funeral directors, who said that I just needed to go sit in the balcony behind the podium until it was time for me to preach. They were taking care of the rest.
The balcony had a lot of seats in it and it was filling up quickly. Thankfully, they had a seat reserved just for me with a sign on it saying “Timothy J. Hammons’ Seat.” Great. Everyone would know who the guy was wearing the white robe with the yellow polka dots. How embarrassing.
On top of all this, James Welch (preacher and pastor of a church in New Orleans) had all his bicycle equipment stored in the balcony taking up at least 30 seats. Apparently he was running a bicycle shop on the side as well as pastoring a church in the Big Easy. I was really afraid that people would just start taking the clipless pedals, and the gears, and the wheels and frames. But given that most of the people were rednecks, and only interested in the funeral of the dead horse, G. Shepherd, they had no interest in bicycle equipment.
I found my seat and sat down. This entire ordeal was quite troubling and I wanted nothing to do with it.
Then I woke up! Thanks goodness.
And if any of you have any ideas about me preaching at your deceased pet’s funerals, forget about it. I have a written police never to do so! See below:
WRITTEN POLICY: Timothy J. Hammons does not preach at the funerals for animals.