"To be absent from body is to be present with the Lord"
It was announced this morning that we lost a pillar in not only our beloved South DeKalb community but, the religious community as well, Bishop Eddie Long, my pastor for nearly 10 years lost his battle to cancer and can now rest easy.
Without reliving the negatives that plagued Bishop Long in his final years and while I'm guilty of making many off color jokes about this great man of the cloth, I know without a doubt that he did more good than bad in his time here on Earth. He was an icon, a rock star in the religious community, he could preach the word like no one else, and his messages were always right on time. For those that don't know much about me, I lost my grandfather and father within a six month time period between August 2000 - January 2001 and in an effort to salvage my sanity I through myself into the word and Bishop Long became my "Spiritual Father". It was in his teachings that my faith became stronger as I learned about Jehovah-Jireh "The Lord Who Provides", Jehovah-Rapha "The Lord That Heals", & Jehovah-Nissi "The Lord Our Banner"; in addition I was able to witness first hand the teachings of religious greats like Oral Roberts, Bishop Neal Ellis, and our "Spiritual Grandaddy" Bishop T.D. Jakes.
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church represents some of the best religious moments of my adulthood which include witnessing miracles, having my own personal super natural encounters, and Bishop Long christening my daughter. I was having a conversation with my aunt today about Bishop Long's ministry and I think she summed it up best when she said "Bishop Long was a great Christian force for the believing community" and I couldn't agree more with that statement.
In the coming days people will offer their fondest memories and of course there will be those that have nothing but negatives to offer, having never encountered the man.
I've been wrestling with this thing all day because I can honestly say that I lost an impactful religious figure in my life, my spiritual father, and if you were ever a follower of Bishop or a member of New Birth I'm sure that much like me a little piece of you died today as well.
When the spirit would begin to stir my grandmom used to say "If I had 10,000 tongues I still couldn't praise him enough" so today I say thank you god for the blessing to our community that was Eddie Long, thank you god for choosing Bishop Long to deliver your word, and thank you god for allowing me to cross paths with Bishop Long.