The first interview was kinda cool.
Global news shows up, wants to do an interview – I’m the pastor of the church in the immediate area of the tragedy. I agree, on the condition that they’ll publicize our candlelight vigil for the community, still reeling from the awful murder suicide. They agree, and off we go.
Twenty minutes later, the Calgary Herald calls. Could they do an interview? Sure, I say. By now I’m shaking my head. The interview takes maybe twelve minutes, plus another ten later that day. Could we send a photographer to take a picture of you? Uh, sure. Snap, snap. Great. Thanks. Turns out that pic becomes an 8×10 with the article.
Then yesterday, I started to freak out. CBC News calls. Could we do an interview? Film you setting up the vigil? My shaking head is now spinning too. Uh, okay.
Chaplain with the city calls. He’s at the crime scene. Could you bring me a coffee and come talk? Sure. I buy a black coffee at Starbucks, then bring it over. There are four news crews with cameras and full gear getting ready for their noon broadcasts. A bunch of them already know me.
I turn down four more interviews later that day, telling them that my focus now needs to be on the hurting people who will be coming to the vigil. Our church is all over the news, paper, radio. We have 200 people show up for the candlelight vigil, there are four sets of cameras just off the parking lot (I didn’t let them in during the vigil), and a bunch of ‘uncamera’d’ media inside. And it sounds like we’ll have a bunch of visitors on Sunday because the newspaper article reported that I’d be weighing in on this tragedy on Sunday morning in my sermon.
All this to say, THIS IS NUTS! Nothing can prepare you for waking up one day and finding yourself in the limelight, an ambassador for Christ in the most extreme sense. Yesterday I rushed home for a nap between circus acts and my stomach was churning. My most common prayer the past few days has been, “Lord, don’t let me say something stupid.” I want to be sensitive to the hurting. I want to be faithful to God. And I want to represent our church well. So far, so good, I think.