Last week my wife and I spent time with a small group of Church of the Nazarene pastors in Clearwater, Fla. The dolphins were inspiring, the sun bright, and the sunsets spectacular. The highlights, however, were the relationships and conversation…sometimes serious, other times full of laughter. This COVID season has brought isolation. To gather for encouragement, fellowship and support was life-giving.
Pastors and priests get a bad rap. They are seen as serious, studious, somber souls. When a group of pastors, however, start telling funny and unusual stories from their ministry? Oh boy, it is funnier than any movie or comedy show. Even while none of us were consuming alcohol.
At one point we shared funny stories from weddings and funerals. Because of the serious nature of both events, when something unusual is said or done at a wedding or funeral, looking back, it is very funny. Here are a few snippets from the stories.
One pastor told a story of a crazy moment at the gravesite. During his prayer he heard a slight commotion. He opened his eyes, and a large black snake was crawling towards the group of gathered family and friends. He quickly ended the prayer and people backed away from the snake. A child pointed to the snake and loudly exclaimed, “Look mom, Satan came to grandma’s funeral!”
Several pastors told of unusual stories that were shared during the open microphone time at the memorial service. A good friend of the deceased man shared, “When I think of my many great times with Jack one story sticks out. After fishing together, we headed home to his house. When we walked in and shut the door, a newly hung picture fell off the wall. Jack said, ‘Well, I guess that picture wasn’t hung too well.’ His wife was standing there and said, ‘Well, neither are you.’”
One widow, in her mid-80s, shared this about her deceased husband. “He was the best lover. Once he wrapped me in Saran Wrap, so he had to unwrap me.” This memory was shared right before the pastor gave the message. How do you follow that? Her daughter and grandkids were so embarrassed.
One pastor got the giggles during the processional. Another had the funeral home put the coffin with the body in his office. When his assistant walked in and saw that her response was priceless. Another participated in a four-hour funeral.
Besides funny stories, many pastors have a great sense of humor and whip out some of the funniest lines. One morning we were having a roundtable discussion on various church issues. The room was frigid. One pastor, from Indiana, had a long-sleeved shirt and a hooded sweatshirt on. He got so cold he put his hood up. Another pastor commented what a good look that was on him and his reply, in a room of 11 men, was, “It is freezing in here. I am as heterosexual as they come and I am open to cuddling right now.” Oh my goodness, I’m sorry if you find that offensive, but that was as funny of a line as I have heard in a long time.
Proverbs 17:22 says that a cheerful heart is good medicine. I hope this column brought you a laugh! Gather with some friends and reconnect!
Hauser is a pastor and leadership coach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org