Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)
TITLE: The Service
By Ebony Broussard
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Revival always seemed to bring out…colorful people to service. Sister James would always say revival brought out the weirdoes (No, that’s not Christian-like but that was Sister James). It didn’t matter. From the wheelchair bound to the mentally ill, people from miles around were coming to these services. No one had seen the lame walk or the blind see in any of these services, but you sure did leave out encouraged and wanting change in your life. Sister James said that revival was for filling up the saints of God. It was like going to a spa --- deep and penetrating, cleansing and relaxing.
“Sir…yes, you in the brown coat. The spirit of the Lord says your time for mourning is over. He will begin a new thing in you this night. When you return home, no longer will you walk under a shroud of mourning. He has called you for such a time as this. Healing is on the way! Hang on! He has need of you and He has not forgotten you!”
The man in the brown coat wept and wept. God had not forgotten him. Maddie found herself a bit envious of the word the man had gotten. Was God as mindful of her? Did He know the pain and desire of her heart too? Would He demonstrate it here in this service?
She sat quietly in her seat as others rejoiced in the word of knowledge and prophecy that had gone forth. Who was she that God would be mindful of her? A moment later, the preacher returned to the pulpit, sweating and exhausted. The people strained to hear his words. “Young lady?” Maddie sat looking down. Surely, he was not talking to her so she continued to look down. Someone would answer. “Young lady in the orange top….” She had on orange. Surely he wasn’t talking to her.
“Ma’am, could you tap her on the shoulder for me?” She felt a light touch on her shoulder. It was her! “Would you stand for me and come down to the altar?” She lifted her head to see everyone looking at her. She was not standing like everyone around her. She thought she had gotten lost in the sea of people standing around her. She did not need to see. Listening to service was fine with her.
“Come down there? Now?” she asked sheepishly. The preacher mopped his sweaty brow with a large handkerchief and nodded ‘yes’. Oh no! This can’t be happening? Why couldn’t he just speak to her from where she was? The preacher must have heard her thoughts because he said to the congregants, “He needs you to do what He needs you to do. He needs you to move out of your own way so that you can get in His way.”
She did not want to stand. She could not stand with ease. The attack on her body has left her using a cane. She would often fold it up and put it into her purse once she got inside. She would walk close to the wall just in case her legs gave way. Multiple Sclerosis. That’s what the doctors had told her several months ago. She kept falling and could not figure out why.
Maddie stood slowly. She felt her face growing hot as she began her walk down the aisle. With each step, she felt tears welling up in her eyes. She had walked this aisle many times for prayer over the years. She had even imaged walking the aisle on her wedding day; her beautiful white gown dragging behind it a train of sheer, white lace --- cathedral length. She imaged big things but right now, the walk was taking an eternity.
The spirit of the Lord hung heavy in the room. Maddie felt the weight all the way down to the altar. At the end of her walk, Maddie hit the floor. The preacher knelt beside Maddie’s crumpled body and whispered in her ear. She got up and ran all over the sanctuary with new understanding. She was indeed a “believer”!
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