I preached my first public sermon on March 29, 2017. It was a total accident...at least that's what it felt like, but I'm sure God would argue otherwise. [Read more about that experience and the after-effects here]
I was really emotional all day today. It's partially because I'm having an issue of blood 😡, partially because I'm lonely, partially because it's Holy Week and I'm working a lot, partially because I'm approaching my 29th birthday, but mostly because today marks one year since I did this totally amazing and unexpected thing in James Chapel at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Since then, I've preached 10 times. I've experimented with this thing and explored my voice in more ways than I could've ever imagined. I've realized how much my acting training and career have helped me step into this thing and I've embraced the bittersweet loneliness that comes along with this thing (or at least I'm trying to).
I sat in the dark sanctuary of my church, moments before tonight's Maundy Thursday service, and I was overcome with gratitude and sadness, fear and anticipation. What is this thing? I didn't sign up for it--it found me--and I'm annoyed by it and blessed by it at the same time. I miss so many elements of my old life. There are times when I've tried to give it back:
God, take this thing from me so I can live my life as I please--so that I can have the man and the career and marriage and the family and the freedom and the joy that I desire!
There are also moments, however, when I burst into laughter with my bosses or I find myself joyfully overwhelmed by the wonderful youth I get to do ministry with, and I'm reminded that I'm right where I'm supposed to be. I wish I had more of those moments. I pray that I'll be able to be open to those moments more often as I grow and mature into this thing.
One year in the game.
And what a year it has been!
I'm grateful for Elijah, who helped me step into this thing so freely.
I learned a lot about preaching--about how to prepare and organize for the preaching moment--from him. Perhaps, without that support, I wouldn't have had the confidence so soon to step into this thing that I said I was not interested in.
I'm grateful for every friend who has supported me--
For Te'Shounda and Brandon who came to hear me preach my first sermon,
For Donavan, Eric, Joe and Mama Sharon who joined them when I preached for the first time in a church last May,
For my FCBC family who came out in July to support me and continue to pray for me and my journey,
For my Father, Mother, and Aunt De who flew up from New Orleans when I preached several times last fall,
for my peers at Union who trust me enough to include me in their chapel services,
For my wonderful bosses at FWCC,
For my amazing FWCC community,
For the everlasting Grace of God that holds me,