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A Hot Mess

The day little Junior re-directed church protocol.

In honor of Pastor’s Wife Appreciation month, we offer another true story. This pastor’s wife learned that laughter really was good like a medicine--after the ill-timed event was over.

It was a special Sunday. The Cone family (not their real name) arranged for a dignified retired minister to officiate at the dedication of their baby son during the worship hour at our church. Based on similar times, the congregation looked forward to seeing what cute things the baby might do.  

At a pre-planned time in the service, the stately old minister would ask the parents to bring their infant son to the front of the church. They were to hold their baby while the old gentleman asked if they intended to make opportunities available for the child to attend the house of worship and embrace faith in God. After that, the officiating preacher would provide suggestions and admonitions, then place his hands on the infant’s little head and pronounced a blessing.

Most couples stood facing the front of the church, similar to a wedding ceremony. This couple, unaware of protocol, faced the congregation. That provided a perfect vantage point for what happened next.

The proud mother held the baby with one arm under his bottom in a sitting position facing the congregation. All went well until strange noises punctuated the otherwise-solemn occasion. Experienced parents recognized that sound.

Trying to comfort the squirming baby, his mother patted his bottom in a soothing rhythm. That was her second mistake.

While we watched in disbelief and mirth, little Junior’s diaper reached its capacity. Copious amounts of diarrhea dribbled onto his mother’s skirt. It puddled on the floor at her feet.

This delightful mom should have won an award for remaining pleasant under duress. She smiled, appearing blissfully unaware of the yellow mess on her clothes and at her feet.

Those of us familiar with baby dedications were waiting for the next part.

We knew the minister was expected to hold the baby as he prayed a blessing on the little life.

The dilemma hadn’t escaped the attention of this dignified elderly man. Noticing the hot mess just a foot away, the minister diplomatically said, “We’ll let the mother continue to hold the baby” and then he proceeded to pronounce a blessing on the child at a safe distance.

That was one baby dedication our congregation remembered for a long time.

What about you? Using the comment box below, tell us about unplanned situations that brought surprises to your congregation.




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