One of the presents Susie got for Christmas was a pack of creative materials, and while Jo's parents were staying with us, Susie and Grandma made a colour-in-and-stick-on-stickers picture of a clown. At the time Susie said that it was for me to take to work...and on the day I went back to work (10 days later?), she asked, "Daddy, you haven't forgotten that you need to take this to work?" And so to work it went. (And yes, I had needed reminding.)
This morning, I was asked if I would be willing to preach - at short notice! - this coming Sunday evening, at Philadelphia. I asked for half-an-hour before I gave my decision, and went back to my study. On the one hand, its an opportunity that doesn't come up so often you want to pass it up lightly; on the other hand, is that reason enough if you don't have a clear idea what you might say (especially as an introvert who writes sermons out long-hand, and would have to prepare at short notice...)?
And then I saw the picture of the clown, and I was thankful that it had ended up on my desk. Because once, a long time ago, my then-team-leader Mike had identified my role on the team as the clown - the one on whom the circus ring-master can call when everything is falling apart, who has the gift of 'saving the day' (a jack-of-all-trades; master-of-none). Perhaps not a thousand words, but choice ones that carry some weight. And right now, for a raft of reasons, I need to be called out again.
I said I'll preach. And I moved my daughter's picture from my desktop onto the wordsmiths lectern I stand at, overlooking the 'square,' as I prepare.