I had a pastoral emergency this past Sunday. Not the kind where you get called to the hospital in the middle of the night; I'm not advanced enough for that yet. This was an emergency of a different kind.
I was sitting in church, facing the congregation, trying to enjoy the beautiful choral anthem when it happened: my armpit started to itch....badly. And I realized I was in a very precarious place. Facing the entire congregation, completely exposed, no table or pulpit to shelter me, and my armpit was itching.
What is one to do? I tried to squeeze my arm tightly to my chest while flexing my armpit muscles to ward off the itch, but it didn't work, and probably made some members of the congregation believe I had recently developed a very strange twitch. My next move was to try to casually put my hand under my arm hoping I would be able to put some pressure on it, but then I realized that just made it look as though I was grabbing my own chest, so I stopped immediately. I told myself it was completely psychological and began a mantra to myself "my armpit does not need to be scratched." Unfortunately, I'm going to need to put some more work in on the mind-over-matter concept before I can really rely on that strategy. I sat there in agony for the rest of the anthem, hoping that something would save me.
Finally, when all was almost lost, my salvation came: prayer time. With everyone's head down and eyes closed in fervent petition, I was able to address the issue without any embarrassment. Thank the Lord. But seriously friends, what options do we have?