I had preached three weddings and a funeral. I had preached in class and chapel as a graduate student, and later in chapel and various services as a chaplain. I had preached in a Disciples of Christ congregation and an ecumenical Church of Christ (who had branched out from mainline COCs). I had spent all of my thirty-three years in Churches of Christ and on April 28, 2013, for the first time ever I preached in my home congregation.
It was a day of firsts: my first time to preach in a Church of Christ, and first time to preach in my home congregation; their first time to have a woman preach; the first time for a woman to preach in a Church of Christ in California (as far as I know). It was humbling and awe-filled experience of the Spirit moving powerfully in the preparation and proclamation. I remembered the times I had cried out to God asking why I had been given a voice in a silent tradition, and I was brought to tears as I recognized God’s faithfulness. God indeed had been preparing me for such a time as this. The most precious moment was when one member got up and slowly made his way to the front while I was preaching. A few friends later expressed their breathless anticipation and anxiety as they feared he was coming up to stop me. Instead, he sat down on the front row to fully absorb and witness what God was up to that day. Though his speech is severely limited, he expressed his appreciation and affirmation. I’m grateful for every opportunity to boldly proclaim what the Spirit has revealed.