Gifts Among Us


There are experiences in life that come along every once in a rare while. When they happen they’re usually not planned and quite often are orchestrated out of randomness. The duration of the actual event may be fleeting but the impact lingers for days. Sitting with your memories, recounting what transpired before your eyes, hearing how others were affected in that same space, the richness only grows. On a recent ordinary Sunday at Zion, such a happening took place.

While many folks came in and out of the following scene that morning, I tell it from my perspective.

I had just settled into a chair in the narthex to brush up on the material for the Sunday School lesson I’d be teaching at 10:30. The 8:30 service was underway. A young mother and daughter exited the sanctuary from the north door. Normal. Then comes Lyle.

Someone has fainted. We need to call 911.

Who is it? I wonder. Do I know them? Getting to my feet I see quick flurries of exits and entrances. People getting out of the way, others moving forwards to assist. And then they come out. They are carrying a woman, the three of them. Husband and son follow. They lay her down and quickly go about accessing the situation.

No pulse.

The doctor begins compressions, the nurse does the breathing, a third is there to monitor the pulse, lead the counting. Another goes for the AED machine. Together they work. To a bystander you’d think they were a team that’d been through this before; so focused, calm, in sync with one another.

The woman is back with the AED and swiftly goes about setting it up; readying it for action. When the pads and wires are in place and it’s able to monitor the woman’s vitals the AED knows it needs to provide a jump to her heart and it shocks her. Amazing. A God send. Those attending to her watch, listen, encourage, pray. There is a palpable energy generated and directed to the woman to survive.

Beat, heart! Come on. You can do it.

And the AED directs the medical team to clear and stand by again so she can be shocked again. The woman responds with a low moan; breathes in her own breath of air. Life is there. Hallelujah!

Had those medical personnel not been at church that morning and the good Samaritan willing to use her recent training with the AED machine not stepped in, I’m not sure this story would have the happy ending it did.

The woman’s husband believes he witnessed a miracle because all the pieces were in place that gave her a chance to survive what otherwise may have been fatal had it happened anywhere else.

I’d have to agree. It was absolutely amazing to witness how well the team that attended to her worked together. For that I am very grateful.

Now, for me to unpack the other piece of this experience; as it relates to how we’re in relationship with one another, will take a little more storytelling. Continue the journey with me. I need to step back a bit to set the stage…

I and my family have been members of Zion for 17 years. We worshipped at 8:30am before children entered the picture; in the Sunday School years moved to 10:30am; every so often we worship at Family Express. Since taking on the role of Visitation Minister I’m usually at church all morning on Sundays. This family, who I met for the first time this past Sunday, have been at Zion for about 35 years. We’ve been members of the same congregation for close to two decades and our paths had never crossed in that time. By no means am I looking for more medical emergencies that will connect me to other folks. But in the past several days I’ve certainly spent time wondering why I haven’t been more intentional about engaging those who sit around me in worship. What other conversations could I be having with folks I don’t know well who may or may not attend church when I do? What stories haven’t been shared between us that could very well enrich our own Christian identities? To care for one another means that we know one another, that we are willing to walk with one another in life and that the path of our walk together takes us out in the world together.

How connected are you to the people you cross paths with at Zion? What can you do to be a part of caring for one another? How are the friends you haven’t seen around this place in a while ?

God definitely nudged me this past week to open my eyes anew to the beauty that is in our congregation. I hope you continue to discover and uncover all the beauty and the gifts that are among us as well.