Singing about Israel in lowly exile here packs a bigger punch when the people you follow Emmanuel with are together in a place not their own. I know what we were taught, church is the people not the place, but please... It's the place also.
And I've never sang "Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death's dark shadows put to flight" with the same intensity as I did yesterday. I've heard or sung that song for the past 31 years, and just now felt and meant the words. I'm serious people, I meant it.
Yesterday after hearing words from the Godfather, UBC dispersed to grieve, and to grieve well. Some participated in the annual Jingle Bowl, the last Sunday afternoon football game of the year. Some were in Tracey's kitchen making sweet stuff that is sitting in my kitchen right now, calling my name.
I went to Calvary. (The church, not the hill.) As you know, that's where I go on the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, since we have evening service on that day. At that service they always announce a thing they do every year for those who have lost loved ones over the past year. I always thought that was special. This year, it was for me.
So I went, and of course I cried, but most of all I allowed the memory of Kyle to wash over me.
I've noticed that when you are grieving a world of shit can occur within a two second span of time.
Toward the end of the service we were invited to take our candles to one of four stations to be lit by a church leader and to be prayed for. I took mine to Julie, the pastor of Calvary, who was also a friend of Kyle's. She took me in her arms and asked "Craig, are we lighting this candle for Kyle?"
Within two seconds, this answer went through my mind: (Sound of disbelief at her question...) "No, this isn't for Kyle. What are you talking about? Kyle's not dead."
And then the past six weeks all came flooding back and I was paralyzed. "Yes," is all I could get out.
After she prayed and cried with me I sat down and the same thing happened. It sounds cliche', but it's true-- I felt I was in a dream. I told myself "I'm in a service set aside to grieve over the ones we have lost and, I'm here grieving the death of who? Kyle? No...Fucking...Way."
Screw Israel, I need Emmanuel right here in Waco, TX with me.