It’s hardly comparable to Phil Collins’ performance at the global Live Aid benefit concert in 1985 when he played on both sides of the Atlantic. After playing the opening set at London’s Wembley Stadium, Collins hopped aboard the Concorde and performed at Philadelphia’s JFK Stadium to round out a full day of global music and awareness for famine relief in Ethiopia.

But next Sunday I hope to accomplish the closest thing I can come to this. You see, the 4th of July is huge in Hingham, Massachusetts. There are fireworks, a big parade, and an annual road race that sees well over 2,000 runners. I just signed up to run the 4.5 mile race which I’m looking forward to. The only problem? This year Independence Day takes place on a Sunday which leads to a challenging scenario for someone who works on Sundays.

The race starts at 7:00 am; I have an 8:00 am service. Which means that I’ll either have to fire up the Concorde or run quickly to make this work. Fortunately, it’s a point-to-point course that goes down Main Street, passing the rectory and church, and finishing up about 2 tenths of a mile past St. John’s. Assuming the starting gun goes off on time I should be okay. I’m hoping to finish in about 40 minutes which should give me time to walk back up to the rectory, take a shower, and get to church for the 8 o’clock.

To give myself a bit of wiggle room, I’ve asked one of our lay ministers to start the service. Throw in the readings and this should buy me about five extra minutes to stop sweating, get vested, and be there in time to read the gospel, preach, and do the eucharist. At least that’s my plan. Nothing like adding a bit of drama to Sunday morning church in the middle of the summer!

Not that I’m dwelling on the negative but here is what could go awry:

1. I could step in a pothole, twist an ankle, and miss the 8 o’clock entirely.

2. I could get trampled by over-eager Hinghamites at the starting line.

3. Due to high heat and humidity I could pass out, be taken to the hospital, and miss both the 8 and 10 o’clock services.

4. If a fellow runner keels over on the course, I would feel a sense of Christian obligation to offer last rites thus making me even later to church.

So wish me luck. But more importantly, wish my 8 o’clock congregation luck. They have to put up with my shenanigans.

3 Comments on “Run-Sweat-Preach”

  1. Patrick Ward says:

    You could hold the 8am liturgy at the finish line.

  2. You could save time by skipping the shower.

  3. Sarah Brockmann says:

    For the record, I was THERE in Wembley Stadium in London for Live Aid! Saw Phil Collins, and they announced it when the Concorde went over. So cool!

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