By Pastor Dave
Monday Morning Quarterback – defined as “a person who passes judgment on and criticizes something after the event.”
Frank Sinatra sang:
“It's so easy looking at the game the morning after;
Adding up the kisses and the laughter;
Knowing how you'd play it if the chance to play it over ever came
But then, a Monday morning quarterback never lost a game.”
But in today’s world we don’t wait until the morning after. So on Sunday, October 2, I drove home from St. Mark’s about 7:45 p.m., and I listened a few minutes to a sports talk station reviewing the Panthers 4 p.m. game and loss to the Cardinals. All the MMQ’s were calling the station to vent their frustrations. “Lackluster offense.” “Inept coaching.” “Bench Baker.”
Then I turned off the radio and did my own MMQ – prayerfully reviewing the events of Sunday as I drove. It was a conversation with just me and Coach Jesus. But here’s the gist: Let’s start with morning worship and the sermon Dave – ugh. 8:30 a.m. was anemic. May need to bench or “pew the preacher.” Shelby’s “Santa” was pretty good along with her message to bless our sisters and brothers in Cherokee. The prayerful hymn by Carolyn Gillette “O God of All Creation” received high marks – unfortunately due to the high-water marks of floods and storms. Priscilla’s piano accompaniment to the Doxology was stormy, strong, inspiring: “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!” Lisa and the choir were angelic in song. I told myself to make sure and tell Pastor Vern he saved the sermon with his prayers of intercession, voicing the concerns and hopes of the sermon combined with prayerfulness of “O God of All Creation” combined with the melancholy and sadness that followed Hurricane Ian into our lives that morning.
With mixed emotions I then thought about the congregation, remembering your faces in worship, seeing you and Jesus. We were edified in the sacrament of Holy Communion. And there were three more people who also brought a smile to my face. Lorri Monterose escorted Jean into St. Mark’s. Jean worked at Lenoir-Rhyne when I was a student and an employee, and was still there when I served as a pastor. Her deceased husband Roger also served as a Lutheran pastor. It was so good to see Jean again. And the other two, Erik and Edith, recently called St. Mark’s because they moved from Minnesota and are engaged and want to connect with a church. We Zoomed last week and then they came to worship! We talked more in person, and they met Pastor Vern and Mandy too, along with some of you. They said what a friendly flock we are. I don’t know how Coach Jesus graded worship last Sunday morning, but I’m now sure it was worth at least three touchdowns! Hopefully the devil’s side was 0.
Then Confirmation class...five delightful disciples. We were creed-focused and looked up Biblical names for our active God. But next time Pastor Dave, get more creative or crafty with the play calling. Remember, God is active, like a verb, so let’s get these students more active.
Then, pet blessings! Those wonderful, beautiful, handsome dogs – Cookie, Rocky, Chloe and more – and the Martin’s meow. There is a lot of God’s grace in those animals. One of their owners accused me (can you believe that) accused me of holding that St. Francis Day service just so I could pet and play with the dogs. “Alleluia!” Coach Jesus, I thought, I know you loved this part of the day. But next time, maybe add some treats? Kind of like communion for cats and dogs?
And then LMM’s Meat and Greet. I didn’t remember Dan Markley had been around St. Mark’s for 41 years and served in so many ways, and served with Lutheran Men in Mission in many ways too! Thank you, Coach Jesus for Dan and his family! Dan received LMM’s Honorary Lifetime Membership Award! Oh, the steaks, potatoes, salad and dessert were delicious! And over $600 was collected and given to Mooresville’s Christian Mission.
Thank you again Coach Jesus. It is a blessing to be part of St. Mark’s ministries of worship, faith formation, fellowship and service. Not perfect, but a blessing for sure. Amen. Then I parked the car, walked into our house, and said: “Hey honey, I’m home!”