the bottomline

We Fall Down
Wednesday, August 5, 2020 by Dan Allen

I’ve divulged in prior articles the nightmares that this minister has related to his calling. I’m in the pulpit, but have forgotten my notes, can’t find the Scripture passage, or something else is preventing me from preaching. Never has the thought of tripping on the steps and taking a nosedive been featured in these dreams. Turns out that is now reality.

In my forty plus years of ministry I have successfully ascended and descended platforms several thousand times — all without incident — all without tripping — all without stage diving, but now it has happened.

When I go to a church, especially a new one or one about which I am not familiar, I check the surroundings. I look to see if it is a solid pulpit—one on which I can lean. A “music stand” will require me getting the stool I keep in the car. I check the steps and see if there is a railing. I don’t just give it a once-over—I really check it out. This I did at a Lancaster County church. The steps looked a bit steep and narrow, but there were only three of them. It shouldn’t be a problem going up. I did not realize how narrow they were on the way down, too narrow for my size 12 feet. I should have gone sideways. And there was no railing to steady myself. After preaching I took the first step down and started to lose my balance. I grabbed for the wall, but it was paneling with nothing to catch or stop me. To the shock of everyone, I fell into the orchestra pit. I landed on my left knee and side. I did not hit my head. Not sure if I broke any of the metal chairs. Rapidly several men appeared to assist. It took a bit for them to lift me up — think lifting a whale, but once I was up, I was fine. There was a knot on my knee, a bunch of bang–up bruises, and a little tear on the sleeve of my shirt. Nothing, praise God, was broken.

Facebook friends chimed in that afternoon when I revealed my misfortune. “No crowd surfing for you.” “Too old to start stage diving.” “Aim for the baptistry next time.” “Slain in the Spirit by yourself.” “That’s what old people do.” With friends like these . . .  Actually, I love my friends and so appreciate their humor. Most of the 87 responses, were of genuine concern. One preacher’s wife fears this will happen to her husband some day. He’s now a VP at “Our Daily Bread” and is often speaking at unfamiliar churches. She said “so embarrassing.” I responded that I’ve done so much over the years that not much is an embarrassment to me—this wasn’t.

Oh, I even received a Scripture verse: Prov. 24:16 – “for though a righteous man falls down seven times, he will rise again.” My response: “You mean I have six more of these?”

The episode reminded me of the fact that accidents can happen to anyone, at anytime, unplanned, unexpected, and unwanted. I had not even a scintilla of a notion this would happen on that day. In the snap of a finger I tripped and gravity took over. In a letter to the church thanking them for their help and prayers through this, I noted that “we need to be ready and prepared for whatever comes our way, regardless of the outcome, to give God the glory through it all.” During testimony times we often hear folks share how God protected them from this and that, but not often that God allowed them to get in an accident or fall down. Our God is good no matter what happens — I’m thinking Romans 8:28.

One friend noted the song “We Fall Down.” That will happen someday when we come face–to–face with the One who died for our sins. I’ll be diving to the ground to pay homage and cry “holy, holy, holy is the Lamb.” Until then if there’s no railing and narrow steps, I might just preach from the floor with a music stand and my stool.


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