I was invited to preach last month. During Advent, on Joy Sunday I preached without Don there to hear me, without my Mom there to hear me, in fact I didn’t know anyone in the congregation except for the presence of one classmate who I didn’t know very well and who just happened to be there by coincidence. The sermon was good, the congregation was attentive, I delivered it well. The topic was joy, the joy that is the gift from God to all of us at Christmas. The joy that I still have in my heart for God through all I have been through.
I had a message from God to share with the people of that wonderful little church and it did not matter that I was battered and broken, it did not matter that I was fragile and weak, what mattered was the message of joy at Christmas. For the first time in the over ten years that I have been preaching as a guest preacher there was no familiar face in the pews to support me, there was no family or close friend to tell me if my message had been on point or way off base, there was no one there to hold me up should I begin to falter, except God. Except God.
God was there when the invitation was issued for me to be there in that pulpit that Sunday morning. God was there that week as I prepared the words to say. God was there holding me up when I wasn’t sure I could stand. God was there holding back my tears as I finished delivering the message and went to sit down alone. God was in all of the kind faces of the congregation that day as they shook my hand and said kind words to me on their way out the door and God will be with me tomorrow when I step back into the classroom again.
Tomorrow I will walk into Seminary Hall again without Don by my side but like the very first time I walked into Seminary Hall over two and a half years ago God will be there by my side. I have been blogging for almost five years now and some of you have been with me every step of the way. I thank you because God is in your face to me right now as well. If you have been with me all along or if this is the very first time you have stumbled along my blog I thank you from the bottom of my heart because tonight you are the face of God to me.by