He does it to me every Sunday morning.  What he does every Sunday morning, to the delight of many is, mute me.  He is the sound man (technician) at our church, (we have several and they all happen to be guys),and he always mutes me at the right times.  Muting the preacher is actually the dream of many. 

He mutes me always during the singing of hymns (which keeps my singing from torturing the radio listeners).  Well, not always. Once negates always, right?  Once in all these years he made a mistake, and so folk all over Carroll County covered their ears and cried for mercy.  They heard a rendition of “Shall We Gather at the River?” like they had never heard before and pray not to hear again.

Predictably, the phone at the church rang early on the following Monday morning. 

“I had to stay home from church yesterday and listen on the radio,” the voice said to our secretary.  “Who was that singing during the hymns?  It was terrible.  Was it a guest preacher?” 

Uh, no it was me.  I apologize to KISS 102.7 for killing their ratings.  I apologize to those who tuned in wanting to worship and instead got a dose of music akin to Rosanne Barr’s rendition of the National Anthem.  I sing like a combination of Joe Cocker with a sinus infection and Bob Dylan with laryngitis.

The sound technician might be the most important person at our church or any church.  He or she has a really hard job, especially if the sound board is a big one and if the sanctuary has some challenges like ours.  Preaching has to be much easier.  I couldn’t do what he does, but I suspect he could do what I do.  We preachers can flap our gills, clear our throats, and belt out sermons, but if the good folk can’t hear, then what’s the point?  So, thanks to the sound man, who makes my messages audible and who mutes me when I need to be (except for that one time). 

The Apostle Paul must have been a sound technician as well as preacher/teacher.  He put it this way in Romans 10: “But how can they call on one in whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear (sound technician) without someone to proclaim him?”   

By the way, there are some preachers I would like to mute.  Those who speak before thinking and those who preach hate instead of love, I would like to mute.  Those who only preach “gospel sunshine,” I would love to silence.  Preachers who are long-winded and don’t know how to end the sermon (like a plane circling the airport and the poor folk in the pew think, “Land the sucker”), those I would like to mute. (The best seminary advice I ever got was the adage, “There’s no such thing as a bad short sermon.”) And finally, I would really, I mean really, like to silence those who preach “health and wealth,” and the so-called Prosperity Gospel, but I can’t.  What I can do is turn off the TV. 

Most ministers I know do a good job with a difficult assignment.  Preaching a sermon every Sunday is tough, and most preachers are conscientious about doing it well.  We have a great message to preach—God really does love the whole world and He sent His son to show us that love and to die for us (John 3:16).

Now that is good news.  But it is better if I preach it rather than sing it.

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