Unexpected, but welcome, guests at church

American_Ambulance_-_6357dfIt’s never a dull day in church when the EMTs show up!

It was a muggy summer day, inside and out. The air conditioning wasn’t at full capacity, so this preacher had worked up a sweat long before the sermon. I can see everything going on from my vantage point in the chancel. Nothing out of the ordinary until I saw some movement towards my left, in the front few pews. At first it looked like one of our youth leaning against her mom. But as a few nurses and elders made their way over, I could see that she had passed out. 

As the scriptures were read, an usher was out front calling 911, I took my bottle of water over to the family, and quickly prayed with them. She was conscious, but would need more care. A few moments during the sermon hymn a deputy arrived, followed by firemen and paramedics. who did their job very well and took her and her mom off to the hospital. After another prayer with the congregation, I began preaching and we continued our worship.

I’ve been through this before. It could be low blood-sugar (I told you to eat breakfast!), a side-effect from some medication, or chest-pain. Sometimes we stop and pray. Sometimes we sing a few extra hymns. Sometimes we wonder, “Who’s next?”

I am thankful for all those who have been trained, know what to do and take action when something unexpected happens at church. Hey, someday, it might be me. I’ve heard plenty of stories of pastors who passed out and even died during a worship service. “With their boots on.” There have been some weeks when I haven’t been 100%, but never close to cashing in my chips. But what a way to go, huh?

The apostle Paul had a guy fall asleep, fall out a window, die and come back to life during one of his sermons. I want worship to be vibrant and inspiring, but I don’t think I want that much excitement!

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