Weird. That's the word that keep coming to mind when I try to describe how I feel tonight.
I don't like missing worship services on Sunday -- especially as pastor. Last Sunday I was on vacation (a 24-hour vacation, but a vacation nonetheless) and so was not in church. Whenever that happens I just don't feel right. I need that corporate worship time. Like my cell phone beeping for a recharge, I've been spiritually dragging all week. But I knew that Sunday was coming, and I prepared my sermon and the whole service to honor God.
At our church, we have Sunday School, then coffee and donut time, followed by worship. But this morning at the end of Sunday School, a sweet old lady came mighty close to a diabetic coma. Her class is held in the sanctuary, so she sat in her pew only minimally conscious. Larry and June came in and noticed that Hattie wasn't looking right. When I looked, they were right -- Hattie looked wrong. The lady knew what it was immediately -- very low blood sugar. Hattie is a diabetic and so is Larry, so June knew what she was up against.
We tried to communicate with Hattie, but she was slipping in and out. June told Larry to go get their daughter Donna because Donna was trained for this type of job. On top of that Donna had brought her dad, Larry, out of similar states a couple of times.
Donna managed to get a cup of orange juice and a cup and a half of root beer down Hattie and after 15-20 minutes Hattie started to perk up again. In the meantime we called 9-1-1 and they managed to get to the church just as Hattie started looking normal again. Eventually they took her to the hospital to check her out (She was fine by then). The ambulance pulled out of the church parking lot at exactly the scheduled halfway point of the service.
So I had a 60-70 minute service and just over 30 minutes before everyone was planning on leaving. Right before we began, the pianist walked up to me and asked, "Well, what now?"
"Beats me," I answered. "We'll just let the Spirit lead."
For many that answer is trite. It's a "Christianism" to throw people off the trail so they won't find out that the order of service is written in granite. Today it was no "Christianism."
We started with prayer and testimonies. The Lord was leading many of us this morning. One of the testimonies became the "text" for my 4-minute sermon. We sang. But most of all we rejoiced in our shared experience. Hattie is loved by everyone, and her experience really brought us together.
So we had about 35 minutes worth of "church" this morning. And it feels partially unfulfilling. Maybe it's because I've got a great sermon that's going to sit on the shelf for another week. Or maybe it's because it wasn't a tidy service with all the loose ends tied up in a pretty bow. I'm not really sure.
But we really didn't have just half a service today. All that happened glorified God. And we saw His involvement. You see, Larry and June were planning on being at their lake cottage this weekend -- two hours away. They stayed home and were in the church only because Larry had a bad toothache and couldn't see a dentist until Monday morning. If June hadn't noticed what was happening with Hattie and knew what to do, things would have been much worse. Their daughter Donna has an odd work schedule and can't be at church three out of every four Sundays. This Sunday she was at church -- the person who had the knowledge, the training and experience for just such a sitaution.
The skeptic and the cynic would simply attribute all of this to coincidence and move on. But I know better. I know that God plans ahead.