Last Sunday, our contemporary worship pastor, Jeremy, asked me to sing a song with him just before our lead pastor came to deliver the sermon. It was a very worshipful song - slow and meant to ready the congregation for the message.
Everything was going great until the second verse. When I swallowed the wrong way.
I immediately began to inwardly panic, because along with being slow and meaningful, this song has no breaks between verses and choruses. As in, no time to cough or clear my throat.
And I really had to cough - the big, hacking, "is she dying?" kind of coughing fit. My eyes started filling with tears, and I'm sure I flushed all over.
So instead of coughing, I started trying to sneak as many swallows in as possible to try and force my spasming windpipe to behave:
"Oh, to know (swallow) the joy (swallow) of Your risen life (swallow swallow) and to kn(swallow)ow You in (swallow) Your suff(swallow)ering..."
Yeah. Not my best effort. But I made it through the rest of the song without losing a lung on stage, and hobbled back to my seat with an aura of shame.
After the service, I pulled Jeremy aside and said "I am SO sorry. I got choked!" He looked me in the eyes with compassion, and placed his hand on my shoulder. "Amanda," he said solemnly, "I know. It's such an emotional song. I've gotten choked up on that song, too."
It took me a moment to catch his drift, but I barked out a laugh and said "No, no...CHOKED...not choked UP. I swallowed the wrong way!"
Jeremy was silent for a moment, and then he let out a huge hooting laugh. "I totally thought you had been 'overcome by the Spirit' or something!"
Nope. Just saliva.
On my way to Sunday School, no less than three people stopped to tell me how moved they were by my obvious emotional connection to the song.
I just nodded and said "Yes, it really does move you, doesn't it?"
I wonder if Chris Tomlin ever lies like that...
Yep. Probably not.