(Truthfully, many of the most beautiful eschatological pop songs I've encountered are also by Over the Rhine. There's a reason they're my favorite band.)
This was the year. Our Spirit Worship Band covered the song in worship on Sunday, and they did it so well I was weepy during their pre-service rehearsal. The singer - a sophomore in high school! - sang the heck out of the song, set down her mic, and picked up her saxophone. There were no fewer than four saxophones for the sweeping, all-encompassing culmination of the song. The sound - along with guitars and piano and drums - filled every nook and cranny of the sanctuary and just sort of demanded to be felt. It was extraordinary, truly. I knew they'd do it well but I could never have imagined they'd knock it out of the proverbial park.
In planning the service, I saved the song for last. I wanted, quite simply, to preach into it. I didn't say a word about it. I didn't really need to, and besides, if I had I know that I would have sounded like the fangirl I am. But the fact of the matter is this: that song means the world to me. It really does. Preaching into it felt like the most natural thing in the world, because it is such an exquisitely crafted expression of eschatological hope.
I sound a bit anxious and chirpy in the sermon recording; the service was running long and I must have been subconsciously deciding to move things along by speed preaching. Still, if you want to have a little glimpse of one of the most meaningful Sunday mornings I've ever had, you can listen to my sermon, Trained by Longing, here and then follow it with a chaser of The Trumpet Child (thought not our cover; we haven't the rights to publish the recording).