Writing about my call to ministry reminded me of my first chance to give a sermon in the Methodist Church. A small church in Kaplan, Louisiana, needed a fill-in speaker for one Sunday. Their pastor had been injured when the church bell fell and struck him on the head. Fortunately, he survived and only needed some time to recover.
I remember several things about that first sermon:
One, I did not know how to prepare a sermon. My sermon consisted of me reading a Bible story and then talking about the story. The minister’s wife was present, and she told me I had done a good job.
Two, I remember how beautiful the church building was. Some of the attendees sat in the loft and I felt as though I was preaching to a large congregation.
And last but not least, I recall that I felt peaceful while delivering my message — something I did not expect to feel.
That was over forty years ago. As I look back on years of pastoring, radio and television ministry, camp meetings and tent revivals, I truly am thankful that I had those opportunities to share my faith.
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”