The Meenister’s Log
Christmas Eve and a Watchnight Service at St.Ann’s in Charlotte Street, Port of Spain.
My associate, the delightful Rev Gerry Chen, was to preach the sermon, while I would handle the prayers and readings.
At almost twenty-five to midnight (the service was scheduled to start at 11.30 p.m) I thought that we’d better get started, even though Gerry hadn’t arrived. Prayers with the choir, and then in we went.
We sang the first hymn, folowed by a short prayer,another Carol, the Nativity narrative – still no Gerry.
By the time we got to “Hark! the herald angels sing” and he still hadn’t appeared, I was mentally and desperately trying to cobble together some old illustrations (yes, friends, I’ve got loads of them, as you will have gathered if you’ve been following this blog – YOU at the back, waken up!) which could be joined together to form some sort of Christmas message.
And then , during the last verse, the unflustered Rev Mr Chen, strolled into the church,went up to the pulpit, and, unrushed and unhurried, started the sermon – which finished at exactly 12 midnight.
Afterwards, I asked him what had delayed him – car trouble? domestic problems?
Nope: he explained the reason as if it were the most obvious thing in the world: “It was raining heavily, so I thought I’d better wait until it was a bit drier”
And God bless you, the Rev Gerry Chen – a truly lovely and devout man