Something marvelous happened this morning during our worship gathering at Bedford Road Baptist Church. A couple things actually.
For one thing, we were able to see our friend Leslie who has had a rough couple of months. It was good to see her again, sitting with her dad and worshiping with us.
That wasn’t what was so marvelous though.
Becky, one of our children’s ministry teachers, was sick, and with our other teacher out of town, we had to cancel our children’s ministry and have our kids upstairs with it.
That wasn’t the marvelous thing though.
Somewhere around thirty of our regular folks (including one of our musicians and both of our sound guys) were gone because of the weekend. Thankfully, we have been adding new folks so quickly that the auditorium was still relatively full.
But all these new folks, as marvelous as they are, aren’t what happened today.
What happened today? Well, you see, this Sunday, I did not preach.
I was supposed to. I was prepared to.
But as our missionary to Japan, Greg Swenson, shared about his family’s ministry, I felt that rather than preaching we needed to pray for Greg and his family. When he finished, the entire congregation stood and gathered around Greg, his wife and children. We lifted them up in prayer, and Greg’s father Lyn concluded the prayer by praying in Japanese. (Lyn was a missionary to Japan for over 30 years.)
Sometimes, we preachers need to be reminded that the congregation is not just a captive audience for our preaching. It is true that we are called to preach the Word of God in season and out of season, but sometimes God’s people just need to pray.
This morning, I felt like we were reconnecting to a lost time – a time when the church was not in such a hurry to get to the next program or next item on the agenda. We were able to pause for a few minutes and unite in prayer for our brother and sister.
I’m sure that some of the folks were wondering what was going on. Not everyone seemed very comfortable with this idea of the whole congregation doing something instead of sitting or standing. That was an unfortunate risk we had to take.