...for the slave is our brother

Our family attended our church's Christmas Eve candle lighting service. It was packed and glorious. We had sat in the second to last row so I could get back to the camera for a minor role I contributed to the tech team. By the start of the service, so many rows of chairs were added that we were in the centre.

Beside me sat/stood a man I had never before seen at church. He carried a medium sized backpack. Other than the big bushy chops on his cheeks and the baseball cap, he did not appear any more unkempt than I. What was noteworthy and distracting about this young man was that he clearly exhibited the effects of Tourette's syndrome: body spasms and tics and shouting out. While he was in my peripheral sight as I looked at the screen to my left, I did notice others glancing uncomfortably backwards at him.

During the songs in particular, he would rock unceremoniously and wave his unlit candle around. He would sing some of the time, but mostly smile and then shout. He lit his candle from mine twice as his went out because he was moving around so much.

As the band led us in O Holy Night, I sang this beside him:

Truly He taught us to love one another; 
His law is love and His Gospel is peace. 
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother 
And in His Name all oppression shall cease. 
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, 
Let all within us praise His holy Name!

He left the service, alone and quickly, before I could introduce myself. 

I left the service somberly. Did he have friends or family? Did he have a home? Did he receive love from the Body of Christ tonight?

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