First United Methodist Church of Corsicana is where I go and sit in the choir. To understand part of this let's imagine the church building. The street doors enter the main sanctuary from the back on both back sides. That was a poor description. Think of a box where all the people sit. The preacher stands in front and their are doors in the back. The choir sits behind the preacher. Off to the side of the choir, steps down, into a small room where the preacher keeps his robe and other things like that. There is a door leading outside from the small ready room. That door is locked and is never opened.
At the back of the place the outside doors - both - lead to small entry areas which go to the actual outside of the building. A porch, there is a nice porch there to keep the rain off your noggin. The northwest entryway, foyer, has restrooms off to the side. This is a great old church built over a hundred years ago. The windows are beautiful - prolly some photos online.
Back in the beginning days of the building the Texas Legislature or Texas Democrats or whatever held their annual meeting in this building. It was known as the flea meeting cause little sand fleas infested the building and were biting all the politicians. The story must be online somewhere. Beats me.
That has nothing to do with today though.
As the service was just getting rolling - I am sitting in choir loft looking out at the congregation, when a lady entered from the back (restroom foyer side). She traveled a few rows and crossed over to speak in the ear of this gentleman. Her entrance was not Stelth - I fault her not though. Both quickly moved into the foyer. Hustle & Bustle. More people came inside and spoke to others. Different people left to the foyer - some returned. Fast forward.
The preacher says, "let us pray." ( I paraphrased here - he has a more elegant way of leading into the pastoral prayer than I ) . In the course of our programmed church service, it was time for the prayer. Audience: heads bow and silence. A siren in the not too far distance. Our preacher always pauses before he utters his first prayer words...I imagine it is for the effect. The siren came closer, closer, louder, louder -- BBBBLLLLAAAAAAAHHHHH the air horn goes off. Suddenly right outside the front of the church, no noise, no siren, no loud horn. The prayer began.
An appropriate amount of time passed. Through the glass windows in the door, I observed the EMT guys rolling somebody out the front door of the building. The service continues; no break.
Editorial: Should the preacher have left his podium and visited the foyer? Should the preacher have continued the service with no break (as he did)? I know that had this happened while I was conducting a concert with my bands, I would have chosen to keep the music going. If I had paused, every little girl in my band would have become too emotional to continue - and it would not have mattered who was sick.
My opinion: he should keep the service going. BUT, had he chosen to go to the back and delayed the service, that would have been okay too. Had he known the identity of the sick person, it would have been a great time for a special prayer. Maybe some usher should have passed him a note during the service. I know there will be those who complain- no matter what. If you like the preacher, he did fine. If you are mad at the preacher, what a great opportunity to fuss again and again.
Here is my question: the guy who had the heart attack in the foyer - did he care either way at the time? Nope. I doubt it. Certainly not. One of our congregation is a "real" medical doctor. He was in the foyer. It will be interesting to see the take others make on this. I roll my eyes in anticipation.
That wasn't all. Remember the door in the little room off the choir loft? The service was winding to a close. All of a sudden, there was a knocking at that door. KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK - 5 loud hammerings. The choir members all flinched -- flipping heads around to look at the door. The choir guy nearest the door said, "I'm not opening it." The guy next to me added, "me either." The knock was heard all over the congregation. Seconds passed. No 2nd knock. Who was there? Was it the hand of God? Maybe it was "Death" coming to claim his victim. The knock was strong.
I feel certain the preacher continued his sermon. I don't know that. I imagine no member of the choir heard another word from the pulpit - never mind the sound guy didn't have our speakers turned on in the loft. A pregnant pause. One of the ushers climbed out of his pew and exited the back of the sanctuary. I observed his shadow on the stain glass side windows as he walked around the building to the back. What would await his journey? I know that I would have been quite cautious in today's climate.
There he found a young man - standing by the door. In his arms a pile of Pizza boxes. The kid says, "Did you know you have a little cat living in your bushes?" Our man, "No, I didn't. I do think you want the entrance door over here." The pizza was being delivered for the a Youth function to be held right after church.
The service ended. The choir, isolated in the loft, had no idea what had happened to the person in the foyer - who / what was he/she? etc. We learned later it was a man with a heart attack.
And the knock on the door? The preacher was nearing the part of the service where he invites people to join the church. Nearing. What a perfect opportunity to save a soul, I say. Yet, remember, we didn't open the door. Somewhere in the Bible is a passage about someone coming to the door, and he is let in - or was he denied entry? I don't know. One or the other - or maybe both. We were challenged. The choir failed to open the door. Sorta sad if you want to think of it that way. I have always enjoyed a good choir pizza party.
My wife reminded me of a popular song, years gone by -- A song that has a knocking and the lyrics:
Open the Door Richard.
Open the Door Richard.
Richard, why don't you open the door.
We had fine music in my youth; nothing like the trash of today.
A "STONE" is a family word for a personal story or thought, not quite an essay or short story. We moved to central Texas to be near a daughter. We are down to only one wirehair dachshund - Sadie. (Goodbye in 2021 to Oscar the ball boy and Bruno the larger twin) & my wife -- penned by a retired Texas H.S. band director - just nonsense thoughts unrelated to each other or anything other than what's happening and comments.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Posted by Mike Metze at 7:20 PM
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