A Moment of Crisis

A 7 year old boy is the first to greet me yesterday morning, shortly after I finish performing the Witnesses drama at the host church.

He looks a little worked up.  Jonathen Swenson Circle

I am thinking maybe one of the more intense scenes in the drama scared him a little. Or maybe he has a new question about God that he wants to ask me. Drama Ministry can make you think new thoughts and ask new faith-related questions. Happens all the time.

So the service is getting out now and people are coming towards my info table to say hello. I can tell this little guy is having a hard time working up the nerve to ask his question to the guest actor and pastor.   

I lean in a bit closer to help him out, and to let him have a little privacy. You know, so he can ask his question quietly.

He looks right into my eyes now, and I can see his forehead is scrunched up. Tears are forming in HIS eyes. This little guy is REALLY out of sorts about whatever it is he is going to discuss with me.

Finally his courage breaks through, he catches an extra breath and asks the big question…

“Do you know where the cookies and Kool-aid are?”

Apparently my display table was located where the coffee and cookies are usually served. A tragic miscalculation in hospitality.

I smile, give him a fist-pump and say, “A man after my own heart”… then point the way to the relocated post-service refreshments.

And once again, I am grateful to be a servant of the Gospel.

A Thank-You to Pastors and Church Staffs at the End of Holy Week


For every pastor who survived Holy Week,
and to every church staff these words I now speakIMG_9998

You DID it! You DID it! You’ve now crossed the line.  
You told the Great Story and I’ll bet you did fine.

Palm Sunday you spoke of the Triumphal Entry
The church was so packed not a seat was left empty.

You then served communion in a powerful way,
You made it so special for Maundy Thursday.

Next, dressed in black, you declared to the pews…
That Jesus had died — you shared the sad news.

You preached the seven last words that Christ said,
you probably spoke of the crown on his head.

And then, the next day, though so VERY tired,
you kept right on working so you wouldn’t get fired!

There was still much to do, and so little time
to prepare your sermon and make it sound FINE!  

While others were out on the town, having fun.
You stayed in your office, your work not yet done.

You prayed and you prayed and you wrestled with the text
for the perfect Easter sermon, to make it the best.

When others were watching the Sweet Sixteen Tourney.
You tried to describe how Christ took his last journey.

Imagining your parishioners’ great anticipation.
You tried oh, so hard, for the perfect illustration.

It sounded so good when you ran it in the morning…
But during the service, most folks found it boring.

Nevertheless, you kept right on going…
You made sure that everything kept right on flowing.

The choir, communion, the kid’s message too…
every part of the service you made sure went smooth.

And somehow you managed in all of this haze
to visit the sick and and kneel down and pray…

You visited homebounds and hospitals too.
Things time-consuming, you made sure to do!

And perhaps the greatest miracle of all…
you carried this out with a beautiful smile.

And now that it’s over and you’re finally home,
I hope you can rest. DO NOT ANSWER THE PHONE!

But hear this, proclaimers of Gods’ Easter Grace
Take time now to be still… to sit in one place…

… and let it sink in: What you preached on is TRUE!
Jesus died and he rose.. and he rose for YOU TOO!

And just in case no one else told you today…
let me be the first voice, to put it this way…

YOU ARE A HERO — do you know what you’ve done?
You proclaimed the GOOD NEWS.. that Jesus has won!

Cross by ChapelIt’s the most sacred calling that anyone could do.
And to share this Great News, our dear God chose YOU!

So THANK-YOU so much, for making it real…
For leaving it all, as they say, on the field.

Now go take a nap, you deserve it so much.
The work can now wait, take a break and have lunch.

Then go back to sleep and sleep a bit more
Spend time with family, don’t do ANY chores.

And when you awake from that well-deserved rest.
May you, too, rejoice… and may you be blessed!

You did it. You DID IT. Now may you be FREE…
To praise God for FREE time! He is RISEN INDEED!

+ Jonathan Swenson      www.paraphrasetheatre.com