Snake Charmer in the Pulpit?

Although I have a good sense of humor and enjoy things that are genuinely humorous, I’m not normally a laugh-out-loud kind of guy. If something is funny, I’m most apt to smile at it. It has to be outrageously funny for me to actually laugh.

PastorJeff     PastorBrauer2

My minister, Pastor Jeff Brauer, is a great story teller, though. Most of his tales are about his days working on the railroad when he was a bi-vocational minister–that means he served a church that couldn’t afford to pay him a living and worked on the railroad to supplement his pastoral  earnings. His ability to remember the people, the personalities, and the incidents from those days is amazing, and his reflections on the past frequently end up as sermon illustrations.

But one Sunday night he felt inspired to share a tale that was neither railroad- nor sermon-related. I hope I can do it justice.

He’d been called on to conduct a funeral service for someone who was associated with our church, but not actually a member.

After the service, he, the family, and friends of the deceased headed outside for the burial at the church cemetery, a distance of just a few yards. He arrived first and–upon looking at whatever had been put down for people to walk on where the chairs for family had been placed–he noticed a snake crawling around. Nothing poisonous and probably no more than fifteen to twenty inches in length. Big enough to cause a major distraction if spotted by the rest of the funeral party.

It must’ve disappeared for a few minutes, but while Pastor Brauer was sitting down, it came slithering in his direction. Still concerned that the reptile not cause a disruption, he put his foot down on it. Not hard enough to squish it, but enough to immobilize it.

Then he reached down as inconspicuously as possible and started working his hand towards the head until he could grasp it without getting bit. (I can tell you from personal experience that non-poisonous snakes are still capable of biting.) Then, still holding it behind the head, he stuffed it into his pocket and waiting for a safe time to throw it a safe distance away.

I can’t recall whether that was during a prayer, when most people would’ve had their eyes closed.

Later, the funeral director approached Pastor Brauer. “Are you one of those snake charming preachers?”

“Only when I have to be.”

The congregation roared at this tale, and I–for once–was roaring in delight along with them. Laughing aloud felt great!

Have you ever experienced something that makes a great humorous tale? How about sharing it here with the rest of us in a comment?


I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website. Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out now. If you’re interested, please check it out at Amazon.

Best regards,

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