Friday the 13th
It was Friday the 13th…and my world was starting to fall apart. Everything had started to shut down. The Big Ten basketball tournament was just canceled. We had made (and revised) 4 different plans for holding church Sunday. Then Pastor Chris called me into his office that morning and said we had to cancel services as well. I didn’t agree. (I realize now I was wrong.) It led to an argument. And I was told to leave for the first and only time since I started working for the church 3 years ago.
10 minutes after I went to get some space, what happened between myself and Pastor Chris didn’t matter. I was in my office, stewing, trying to figure out how to change Pastor Chris’s mind, when Donna Maysack ran in. “Can you come see Pastor Joe?” Donna said. I ran to his office, and Joe was complaining about pain at the back of his head…but he was having a hard time communicating it. “He’s having a stroke,” I said. I called 911.
The paramedics arrived within 90 seconds.
Within an hour, Pastor Joe was heading for the emergency room, with an uncertain diagnosis.
Meanwhile, Pastor Sheryl was getting ready for a funeral for long time member Nancy Sallstrom. It turns out, this would be the last service held in the Madison sanctuary for 8 months.
In order to clear my head, I went to the balcony to try and figure out what to do. And the opening hymn started to play. I Know That My Redeemer Lives. And all the emotion I had held in over the past couple of hours came out of me … especially on the last verse that day.
“He lives to grant me daily breath,
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.”
My life, and the life of my church, changed that morning. And we’re not exactly sure how it all will end. But thanks to the power of song, I was reminded that day how the story will eventually end, for all who believe in Him. It’s a story of hope. And it explains why the weary world rejoices over the arrival of a baby in the manger this time of year.