Suddenly I found myself on stage at a pulpit in front of an audience waiting for me to deliver a sermon. I found a Bible in front of me and started to look for passages from which I could tell a cohesive story. I don’t know what I talked about, but I felt I was doing well enough that no one would notice that I wasn’t prepared.
Realizing that music would be expected, I turned to the music director but naturally did not know the hymnal and could think of nothing that made sense in conjunction with what I’d just said. The music director announced “Hymn #141.” Although I didn’t know what it was, I hoped the selection seemed planned and complementary to the sermon. I had misgivings about the music director because I feared that he (or she) suspected me. My worry stemmed from a sense of guilt, but I didn’t understand its source.
As I was waking up, I was thinking that being a minister isn’t very difficult at all — I had gotten away with it without having had to spend time on agonizing over a sermon. After I became a little more awake, I felt oppressed by the idea of having to come up with something fresh week after week, year after year, while providing spiritual and marital counseling and performing all the other day-to-day duties I didn’t know about.
By the time I was fully conscious, my idea of the job had been transformed from “piece of cake” to “overwhelming.”