John Daniels was an early Covenanter I only wish I had the chance to know. A member of First Covenant Church in Minneapolis, he invented and patented all kinds of traps, even some that caught pigeons on the church eaves.
He had one other “preacher trap” in mind, as recalled by Herbert Palmquist in his book “The Wit and Wisdom of our Fathers” covenant press, 1967:
“One of his (Daniels) most ingenious ideas had to do with the length of the sermon. It was his belief that most sermons are much too long. Whatever was said after twenty minutes was wasted, and here preachers kept on for an hour or more! The congregation ought to have a voice in the sermon’s length. For this reason every seat should be equipped with a button. When the listener felt that they had had enough, they would merely press the button; when a majority of the buttons had been pressed, a trap door would open and carry the preacher and the pulpit down into the basement of the church. But in order that the preacher might not be embarrassed overmuch and so be tempted to lose heart, there should be someone down there ready to comfort the preacher with a cup of coffee.”
That story remains an important reminder that humor and laughter is such an important aspect of coping with the stresses of our lives, lest we take ourselves too seriously, and our challenges as though no others before us faced their own. As my father was prone to remind me when I was over-burdened, “The Kingdom of God was here before you came along, and it will remain after you are gone. Relax, take a deep breath, and do what you can!”
Good to laugh. Remind me of that and I’ll do the same for you. Now I need to finish this little blog and go and check out the pulpit floor!
Love from here