Today a man collapsed during the church service. It was during the sermon. There was a small commotion from the back of the sanctuary, a cry for a nurse. Someone said “Call 9-1-1.” By the time I turned my cell phone on someone else was already calling. A good thing – I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep my cool. As she was talking to 9-1-1, I realized that the church building is a long way from the street entrance, and that someone should go down to the street to direct the ambulance. As the minister was directing us to begin praying, I just left the sanctuary. I went out in the rain, down by the street, and waited. Just as well. I have no medical expertise to offer, I can pray on my own, and somehow I just wanted to be by myself. These are times when the prayer is just “Oh, God. Oh, God. Please heal, comfort, send peace.” After a few minutes a second person came out of the sanctuary to wait for the ambulance, too, but he waited further down at the other entrance.
When you are waiting for an ambulance to come revive someone who has collapsed, 10 minutes is a long time to wait. Finally the ambulance arrived, and was directed to the sanctuary by the other waiting person. I started back up the hill. As I ascended, I noticed a squirrel and a crow, just standing there, looking toward the sanctuary. It was as if they too wanted to know what was happening.
When I got back inside the sanctuary the congregation was singing. “Great is thy faithfulness... All I have needed thy hand hath provided...” The man was being wheeled out on the gurney, waving to us. I was thankful to see that he had regained consciousness. Someone went with his wife to take her to the hospital. We resumed our worship service, although the minister declared that the sermon did not need to be preached that day, as we had already lived out our faith in those moments.