I was blessed to attend worship today at the dining hall/chapel of the rehab facility I have called home for just over a week. I've been learning how to walk correctly with a walker, raise myself from a seated position, get in and out of bed, and probably a few other things you wouldn't be interested in hearing about.
The Sunday schedule on the wall mentioned a devotional service at 10 AM so I decided to go. I came wheeling into the middle of several rows of wheel chairs, people sitting in straight chairs leaning on walkers, and a few that had walked in there and found a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the music.
The man was singing and playing an old beat up guitar, and leading us in a medley of praise songs. I positioned my wheel chair in one corner and began singing along, but also observing some of the others. Being in a rehab facility, you can see just about every medical ailment known to mankind. I am here because of a hip replacement surgery, and I noticed today's assembly was also being attended by one of the men from my physical therapy group who was recovering from knee replacement. Others around the room were showing signs of suffering from strokes and some were there because of various injuries from falls. All of us are in this place learning how to care for ourselves now that physical limitations have caused changes.
There was one lady slumped way down in a mobile reclining chair, her body almost in the fetal position, and her husband seated beside her leaned closely to her ears as he sang the words of the songs. Almost every person in there was really getting into the praise music, and I noticed hands clapping and at least one foot on everyone was patting to the beat.
All of this reminded me of my growing up years, when we would take a group from our church to a similar facility and sing for the residents. I remember how I never looked forward to it and often expressed my displeasure at going, only to be reminded by mom that it would mean so much to the old people for us to be there.
The man leading the praise medley finished and gave a welcome to all in attendance. There were lots of smiles on the faces of everyone as he told us about his years of being in a motorcycle gang, traveling and singing about the Lord. He then let everyone know he was going to lead some of the "older" hymns and started singing, "I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses; And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. "
The lady sitting in front of me started it, then I noticed it in several others, too. Even the lady slumped in the fetal position was doing it. The memories of the song, and the importance of those words brought tears and mine could not be withheld. I thought again about the words of the chorus, "And he walks with me and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own; And the joy we share, as we tarry there; None other has ever known."
I have heard lots of powerful sermons preached, but today I actually saw a sermon I will never forget.