The irony is I had just finished reading a passage out of Stephen King's Carrie (not quite on par with the TNIV). I was making a parallel between Carrie White and Jesus Christ, and before I got a chance to explain, I noticed a quiet group huddled around an unconscious member of our church. My face had been fixed on the book for a minute before I noticed the silent upheaval.
There I was, caught in an untidy allusion that, taken wrong, could border on blasphemy. There she was, eyes clenched, mouth agape, and a dear friend holding a towel below her chin.
"Can we do something?" I asked.
Her friend nodded and lipped the words, 'Just pray.'
So we did. Corporately. Individually. In small groups. A few songs from the earlier worship set erupted as a soothing aroma. It is well...with my soul...
The EMT arrived before the third verse. They carefully moved the woman to a stretcher and led to her the ambulance idling in the parking lot. Within minutes she was conscious, and by the end of the hour, three couples from the church had visited her in the hospital. She was spirited, recovering well.
Had the woman not fainted, I can forecast the rest of our morning worship:
four men would've fallen asleep;
three girls would've passed notes;
five adults would've thought of their dying lawns;
eight people would've looked confused;
seven ladies would've smiled and nodded;
six geese would've laid eggs;
one pastor would've wondered if he was connecting;
and everyone would've stood to sing a closing song.
One of the most common complaints about the church service is its monotony. And perhaps too many gatherings open and close with the predictability of a Friday night sitcom. Nonetheless, the church service is one corporate venue for God to manifest Himself and call His people out. We should expect Him more.
And if we don't, we are bound to grow faint of heart.