As most of you know, May 20 of 2012 was a very special day in my life. I always imagined that the day my family and friends would gather in a church to celebrate with me would involve a long white dress and a man standing beside me at the altar. It seems that God had other plans. On this day, in a small church that my grandparents attended, that mother has been a faithful member of, that I was baptized in almost thirty years ago and that my son was baptized in; my family and friends gathered to witness me present my trial sermon to become a local preacher in the AME Zion Church.
Once we set the date, I was issued invitations to speak at two other churches and thought that by the time my big day came; no one would be left to hear me speak. Having spoke at many churches on many occasions, I drastically underestimated exactly how special this day would be to me. I thought it would be much like the other days, boy was I wrong!
As I composed the program, I asked one of my dear friends in the ministry, Rev Mark Hawkins to pray for me. You have to be careful who you ask to pray for you because not everyone is praying for what you really need. My aunt, Rev Liz McCaskill, also a minister in the AME Zion Church came in and read the scripture without any cues from me. She read from the eight chapter of the book of Romans which has a special meaning in the confirmation of my calling. I asked my mother to introduce me and she kept requesting that I type something for her to say but I asked that she just speak from her heart and she did. She closed with (paraphrasing), “LaKesha would want you all to know that she is redeemed.” And this is where the waterworks began. “I Am Redeemed” is the song that has been on my heart since I seriously began to consider this new faith walk. One of the toughest emotions that I have had to deal with is overcoming my past mistakes and personally accepting the new person that I have become. That song sums it all up, “Jesus has changed my whole life…”
As I sat there preparing, praying and crying, the musician, Mr Mayhan played “Amazing Grace.” “Amazing Grace” as it is sung in a small country church filled with believers can draw the spirit out. This may sound crazy to some but I could it feel it swirling in the air and I could hear the sincerity in their singing. I kept thinking of how amazing that grace is that saved me… I was once lost but now I am found, I was once blind but now I see…. Praise God, Praise God…
After the closing, all of the ministers, my family members and friends came to greet me as Mr Mayhan played “I Am Redeemed”. I cried. They cried. I believe that God was pleased with all that had transpired as those closest to me officially welcomed me into the ministry.
I have had the audio of the sermon on my phone and shared it with a few close friends, which was difficult. It isn’t that I am ashamed to preach the gospel but this one was so personal, so emotional… My dad, an avid photographer, captured the day in video. You are invited to be a part of this special service.
The file was extremely large so please enjoy this excerpt… View Now