Monday, January 20, 2014

Take a stand

Every once in a while I attend a service at Grace Church in Middleburg Heights. Although I am a practicing catholic I enjoy the experience of worshipping at another church. This Sunday I attended a bible study at 10:30 and met my boyfriend for noon mass. Their masses have a message series and Sundays was the last in the Financial Fitness Series. The information Pastor Jonathan Schaeffer shared was very valuable and of  course based in scripture. But my story is not about the content of his message. During his message there was a person that would randomly laugh or make weird noises. He kept forging ahead, ignoring the distraction.  I tried to look around but could not detect where it was coming from. I didn't want to be too conspicuous by rubber necking. There is a parishioner at Holy Angels that has turrets or some similar affliction that causes him to randomly shout out so I just assumed this was the same here. Until...Pastor Jonathan stopped, and asked the person if they would kindly watch the rest of the program from the lobby. He asked security to escort this person out and apologized that this person was not very happy with him and was deliberately disrupting the service. The mood became very tense and uncomfortable for a few minutes until this person was removed. I don't think I have ever seen a church service halted, but this person was obviously troubled. Once removed Pastor Jonathan finished his teaching, although the room was quite somber. In Grace fashion they ended the service with an upbeat Christian song but before we were dismissed Pastor Jonathan asked if he could explain a bit more about what happened. He didn't want the audience to think his actions were rude or insensitive. Apparently the outbursts began last week and while not removed this person they did  identify who she was. This person, he went on to share,  has caused much trouble in the church and brought heartache to many of the parishioners and he felt as its leader he had to take a stand and not allow this disruption. He likened it to the devil, how he likes to creep into our lives distracting us while we try to ignore him. At some point you have to take a stand and cast this evil out. I don't know the details of this story and am very torn by the turn of events. Yes it was disruptive to have this woman deliberately acting out but at the same time it was upsetting to watch her get thrown out. I guess I was not sure if the added background to the story made me feel better or worse.  I know that the pastors intent was to protect his congregation. At the end of the day I guess we all have to make those difficult choices, to stand for what we believe in and protect what is ours.

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