I was meant to be leading and preaching at 10 o'clock this morning at a prep school chapel service.
I've been quite busy lately, so I only actually started writing my sermon while waiting for the train back from Durham yesterday at around 5pm. I never actually finished writing it, because the train got quite noisy with drunk people and I didn't get back to my room until after 11, by which point sleep mattered far more than more detailed preparation.
This morning, I woke up at about 6am. I knew I had plenty of time, so allowed myself to snooze for a bit, then woke up again at 8, which was somewhat too late.
I'd only been there once before, and that was via a friend's house which was quite out of the way, and seemed to remember it took about 30 mins. I was therefore aiming to leave at 9am, but got slightly distracted in a conversation after breakfast and then struggled to get all my props together. I left at 9:30.
After driving "slightly" too fast while trying to read a map (but only when there was no traffic around me so that it didn't matter when I swerved across the road a bit), I managed to get there at about 9:45, at which point I realised that I had a) left my sermon in my room somewhere and b) forgotten to bring a Bible, and the only Bibles evident in the church were good old-fashioned KJVs. I had, however, remembered my props and the passage I was to preach on.
I believe at that point I may have prayed something along the lines of "help!!" I then remembered some of the best arguments for the traditional way the C of E does things - robes mean that people don't focus on the person leading but on the office and liturgy makes it a lot harder to mess up. So I donned my robes (which I hadn't forgotten - the person there usually wears robes, but I'd been given a free choice) and decided to use quite a bit of the printed liturgy. As I sat down, I also found a Good News Bible in the shelf in front of my seat (no others in the church). I've never been so grateful to find a Good News Bible in my life!
Given all of that, the sermon seemed to go pretty well and the service to go very well. God is so gracious...