, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As the saying goes, chance favors the prepared.

But not his time.

There are two things you need to know. First, when I’m ill in a way that affects my voice, before a worship service begins, I’ll put a glass of water into the pulpit so that if I need to relieve vocal irritation during a sermon with a sip, I can.

Second, there’s one particular problem that I would imagine many churches struggle with: flies. With the constant opening and closing of doors at various ends of the building, vaulted architecture adorned with massive lighting fixtures, and less-than-insulating stained glass in the windows, during the colder months of the year, you can almost guarantee that flies will find their way in. Once inside, they’ll buzz skyward to keep warm—and to multiply—in or near the sconces of the light fixtures. It is also expected that most will, at some point, go out to explore the boundaries of their new resort, and as they do, they’ll meet with the colder temperatures near the windows and they’ll spin into a frozen coma, ultimately coming in for an upside down landing on a sill, the altar, or some lady’s hat.

Because no one wants to share his or her space with what can only be described as a break dancing fly buzzing around on his back and doing all that he can to get back to his feet even in the throes of death, before every worship service, it’s quite necessary for our elders or ushers to traverse the worship space with a little hand held bug vacuum equipped with an inner electrocution wire and designed to suck up the dizzy little buggers and introduce them to the afterlife.

But just because you clear the scene of flies before the service doesn’t mean the overall process has ceased, and with that, I think you know where I’m going with this. Chance favors the prepared, that is, unless you reach for your glass during the sermon only to observe a sputtering fly being overcome by the waves within. In that case, chance has laughed at both the fly doing what he can to survive his arctic locale, and the preacher who sought to prepare accordingly for a sermon’s delivery.

“Sorry, guys,” chance giggles, “but this time you both lose.”

Thankfully I saw the fly in there, because I’m guessing that jetting a spray of fly infested creek water from my mouth across the finely dressed people in the front row isn’t very churchly and could be interpreted as offensive. Although, now that it comes to mind, and depending upon who’s in the front row, I might catalogue the excuse for future use.

“Oh, yeah, Sam,” I’d say. “Sorry about spitting that mouthful all over you during the sermon this morning. I took a sip and discovered a fly in my glass. What? Oh, no, I didn’t do it on purpose. And besides, thankfully it was only water and it will dry up and disappear quickly, unlike those nasty, but untrue, things you said about me to Mark.”

At this point, I must shift gears and admit that some creek water is worth savoring, and that neither troublemaking flies nor seditious humans would cause me to eject a sip of the 21-year-old Pike Creek edition. Seriously, if a fly landed in a dram of this Canadian prize, while it isn’t necessarily the best I’ve ever consumed, it is worth the effort to scoop him out. And yet, if I were unsuccessful, I stand on the conviction that you don’t want to waste what’s been poured, and so down the hatch he’d go.

Let me tell you why.

A swirl and a sniff of the Pike Creek opens the front doors to barely a hint of smoke that immediately carries upward into a holy space of spiced and simmering honey and ripened strawberries. A sip brings what I’ve described to a more graspable plane where you not only experience the honied fruit, but you are given the opportunity to lie back and consider the spices mixed into the honey—cinnamon and cloves, and maybe even some thyme.

The whisky exits in medium fashion, leaving cinnamon applesauce behind.

No, you won’t find yourself desiring to spit this stuff out. In fact, you preachers out there may be tempted in your preparations to forsake the transparent glass of water for a more opaque coffee mug of this stuff.

I probably don’t need to explain why you should choose a coffee mug as opposed to a glass, right?