I preached at two nursing homes on Sunday afternoon, I was filling in for another pastor. We didn't have any musicians available, so Erin gave me the great idea of downloading some hymns onto my ipod. It worked great! Everyone sang along. The crowd at Meadowbrook rehabiliatation hospital was small, the crowd at the medical lodge was HUGE! There might have been more people in that room than in our sanctuary Sunday morning. At both places, I had to almost yell over all the other noises. I can't believe my voice held up. The crowd at the medical lodge had some serious physical and mental handicapps. That was the first time I'd ever preached to a group of handicapped people, and I must admit it wasn't very easy. I was a bit uncomfortable; from the time I went in to the time I left.
There was a lady a few chairs away who kept blurting out stuff that I couldn't quite understand. I think I caught "preacher" and "V'cryinJsus" (I guess she wanted to sing that song, but I didn't have it on my ipod). And it was hard to make eye contact with her because her eyes kept rolling back into her head, so all you could see were the whites of her eyes.
After I preached, a lady who could carry on a pretty normal conversation interpreted what Gladys (as I found out her name) was trying to say. She wanted the "preacher" to pray for her because she had a serious illness.
I'm not real proud of this, but I had a second's hesitation before praying. I didn't quite know what to say or whether to make physical contact. I have to admit that Gladys kind of wierded me out a bit. But I put my hand on her shoulder and prayed for God's healing. I could tell she was following my words and she seemed to relax after I said "amen." It was really an amazing experience. It was a fleeting image, flashed through my mind really quickly, but I imagined Jesus standing with me. I imagined how Jesus touched the lepers and hung out with the outcasts. I got the sense that Gladys felt Jesus through my hand on her shoulder.
I was a bit wierded out by Glady's condition and some of the other patients there, but I'm so glad Jesus isn't repulsed by our sickness and our sin.