“The Last Advent”

It’s almost Christmas, and I’ve been trying to finish this post since July…

I wrote that first sentence days ago…and still this post mocks me. These days I tend to write on the road, which means I compose on my iPad. I’ve written and deleted this blog entry so many times…if this was with paper and pen, I’d have gone through an entire forest by now.

There are so many thoughts swirling through my mind. So many emotions ravaging my heart.

This post is proving difficult to write because I just don’t want to write it. Change has been overshadowing me and I don’t want to deal with what is coming…

For the past six years I have been a regular member of the Hunter Street rhythm section. Oh, I’ve been a long-time friend of the church for literally years and years now, playing for special concerts and events, choir tours, etc. I’m fortunate that I’ve had relationships like this with several churches around the country. These fellowships aren’t ‘my’ church…but when I’m there I treat them as if they are.

When HSBC called me six years ago to fill in on a Sunday, I was glad to do so. While I relocated to the Nashville area from Birmingham in 2005, I still do many sessions and gigs and such down there. As I’ve mentioned, I’m no stranger to ‘the Street’ and it was fun playing and worshipping with my friends.

I was honored and a bit surprised when they wanted me to play each week. I never expected this scenario to last as long as it did, but God sent this opportunity at the perfect time.

Sheryl Crow was dead wrong when she sang ‘a change will do you good.’ I understand all the reasons for this change in direction for me and the church, but to be completely candid…I just don’t like it.

I am a full-time musician. This is my profession and my passion. Yes, this change will affect how I go about the business of music. But this is not source of my anguish.

I’m going to miss my friends.

I have many friends in many places on this planet, and distance is no boundary to the bonds of friendship. God has truly blessed me in this…more so than I could ever deserve.

Today I had the privilege of playing with my friends at Double Oak Community Church, also in the Birmingham area. To see the faces of old friends, and to connect with new ones is a rare gift indeed. It was a bit strange heading to Mt. Laurel and not Hoover…

One of the many drafts of this post contained tributes to each of my Hunter Street friends, and the many ways God has used them in my life. I would honor them with my stumbling words if I could. But I realized this post would be far too long for any to care to read. And invariably my feeble memory would fail me and some names would fall through the cracks. I have seen the hurts that man and his human church have caused by such oversights, and I would not repeat those mistakes.

I love music. But music is not all that I am. I am husband and father and brother and uncle, and son to parents gone where I am not yet called. But music is a special gift…a special bond indeed. To make music with one’s friends might be the rarest gift of all.

Sunday, December 29th is my last regular service at Hunter Street. I have long thought of next Sunday as an ending. And of course, in many ways it is. But the season of Advent is upon us…and nearly gone. Advent is the arrival of Christ into the world…’Grace wrapped in flesh’ as I have written it. Hope and Love and Grace and Mercy made manifest.

Change is here. And Advent is just that…the arrival of a change long foreseen and long hoped for. Not the ending…but the beginning. My advent is that this adventure continues…

It has been said that the church is not a building…it’s people.

Thank you to the friends who have been my church.

Thank you, Father, for the gift of today…and for all the days that follow.

GV

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