Written by: Stan Key
Worshiping together on Easter Sunday morning is a powerful moment but this Easter was the best yet. For the first time since her stroke on December 14, Katy went to church… and her entire family (all 11.5 of us) went with her! Anna, Sarah & Adam (plus four kids), Elisabeth & Ben (pregnant), joined Katy and me on the front pew of First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. It took an act of congress to get everyone up, washed, fed, dressed, and into cars for the trip to Lexington. Moving Katy in her wheel chair is still an art that we are learning. But once the music began (orchestra, choir, pipe organ) we knew it was going to be a hallelujah morning. Senior Pastor Mike Powers is a long- time friend and he and his wife Sherry visited Katy many times during her 84 days in the hospital and rehab facilities. The service was glorious and the grandkids were thankfully well-behaved.
I sat on the end of the pew next to Katy, sitting in her wheel chair in the aisle. The closing hymn was Charles Wesley’s majestic “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” As the music began, everyone was invited to stand and sing. I remained seated so I could sit beside Katy stuck in her wheel chair and so she could see the words in the hymnal I held for her. As the congregation sang, Katy leaned close to my ear and whispered loudly above the music, “I’m going to stand up!” “Not possible,” I thought to myself, and kept on singing. Not to be turned off, Katy repeated her message, this time more loudly and with greater insistence. “I’m going to stand up!” We were almost at the fourth verse and I could see that Katy was skootching toward the front of her chair readying her good arm to push herself up. Though Katy has been “standing” for several weeks now, it is always with assistance and someone nearby to balance her. I realized that she was going to do this with or without me! I quickly put down my hymnal and slipped to Katy’s good side. Putting my arm around her back and providing firm support, I gently assisted as Katy stood to her feet. Tears made it impossible to sing but that didn’t matter. The congregation was explaining what was happening:
Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Foll’wing our exalted head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
I knew that Katy wanted to raise her arms in praise and worship but her good arm was holding on to me for balance and Wilson (her paralyzed arm) wasn’t cooperating at all. But neither arms nor voices were needed for God to understand. The message came through loud and clear!