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Neon Steeple

I was sitting in the front of a tour bus, in the, “jump seat,” right next to the driver watching the white lines of the interstate stop reflecting the light of the headlamps and start reflecting the light of the sunshine. You’ll find me there most mornings. It was the last tour of The David Crowder Band and I had no idea what was coming next. I just knew there was a period, a full stop, at the end of that sentence.

We were topping a hill while the sun was breaking over tree tops on a tiny West Virginian coal town. It was cinematic. Quaint. The dominant architectural feature, bathed in sunlight, pointing to the sky determined and defiant, was a steeple. We don’t build churches like this anymore. Now they look like office complexes.  Nowadays we insure there is approachability, a commonness, a familiarity. Here, in the early morning sunshine, I imagined a harder time, where life and death lived closer together. When a simple structure in the middle of a town could point to something higher, more transcendent, a thing coming that would make it right. A thing so overt that it couldn’t be missed. When everything in earth is groaning, “There must be something more,” there is an answer. A monument to the dream of God, a thing unmistakable, sitting in the middle of town. In that moment, topping a hill in rural West Virginia, with new sunshine in the early morning air, I knew I wasn’t done making music and I knew I wanted whatever I made next to feel like that. A thing pointing up in the middle of all this.*

When all this is over, when the economy is still struggling, when the jobless rate is worse than its ever been, when people are wondering if the virus is returning, when people are wondering if anything can ever feel normal again, wouldn’t you like to be that steeple on the top of the church pointing up. Pointing to something greater than ourselves that matters more than all the things in this world that we have put our trust in.  I sure would.

Pastor Jim                 


*David Crowder, Neon Steeple

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