Hey, pastor, what's the strangest thing that's ever happened to you in the course of your ministry?
I've had more than a few odd experiences in my thirty-plus years of public ministry. The bride who showed up for an outdoor wedding in a pinned-up lace tablecloth as her gown. The odd crunching sound as a funeral director closed a casket (was the casket a size too small?). The Christian kids' show host who called the kids in the studio her little "sugar boogers."
But perhaps the strangest was the young man who insisted on meeting with me at Kofenya coffee shop in Oxford, Ohio (which I think was the meeting that gave rise to my general rule that I would never again meet with someone without knowing the purpose of our meeting). A few minutes into the conversation, he told me he had a prophecy to share with me.
I don't remember what his prophecy was, though. In fact, he may never have gotten around to it, because I started asking him questions and soon discovered that he was David.
Not metaphorically. Not symbolically. As I probed and prodded, he revealed that he was THE shepherd-king of Israel, David son of Jesse, the forebear of Jesus the Messiah, who slew Goliath and sinned with Bathsheba.
My skin started to crawl. I did my best to reason with him, to ask searching questions, to ask why he thought this, etc., to try to lead him to recognize the theological and biblical difficulties inherent in his claim. He would have none of it.
Finally, I just leveled with him. I remember saying something like, "I believe I can say to you, in Jesus' name, that you are NOT King David. But I can also tell you that whoever you are, you are loved with the same love as God ever loved David." I think I also urged him (as David did with Nathan) to make himself accountable to someone older and farther along in the faith than he. It did no good. He was incensed that I would speak to him that way, and fail to be impressed by his claim. He told me that I was disobeying God and standing in the way of prophecy, or something like that. We parted abruptly. And I was creeped out. And very, very sad.
I think that ranks as probably the strangest "pastor" experience I've ever had. I don't know if I'll ever forget it. It disturbed me for many days and drove me to heartfelt prayer for him. But to my knowledge, I never saw him again.
What about you? Any strange pastor tales to tell?