On Sunday evening, ABC aired the 93rd Annual Academy Award ceremonies. This year’s presentation was different. Presenters, nominees and the audience maintained social distancing. Interviewers on the red carpet remained a safe distance from the celebrities who stopped by their microphones. Since the show has been without hosts since 2018, its producers have come up with different ways to keep fans entertained.
There were a few surprises. The nominated songs were presented during the Red Carpet show. Regina King, the first presenter shared the first time she saw a movie. That became the theme for the evening. The viewing audience learned a little of the backstory of how actors, writers, makeup artists, and costume designers were introduced to their future profession. And, of course, that got me thinking.
Not about the first time I saw a movie, but about the first time I knew that Jesus was my Savior. Whenever a person wants to become a minister, they are asked about their call. Most tell a similar way in which the Lord touched and continues to touch our lives, affirming God’s indwelling presence. But we rarely ask when a person becomes aware that God is speaking with us.
As I watched the Oscars I tried to think back to the moment when prevenient grace became something more. I remember a conversation with my sister and father when I was six. Her response to something my aunt said caused my sister to cry and my father to be angry. I remember trying to comfort my father, and that’s when my aunt said that I had “the gift.” Coming from a family of ministers, I knew immediately what “the gift” was. But we never talked about what to do or how to be comfortable with the call.
It’s more difficult for me to remember when I first became aware that God was and is a part of my life. I don’t believe I remember a time when He wasn’t. There has always been a still small voice in my life and in my spirit. The voice talks to me walks with me and affirms who I am. Passages from the Bible continue to strengthen and deepen the loving relationship I have with our Creator. There are hymns that cause God’s voice to ring like a bell. There are prayers that resonate with the quiet voice I hear most of the time. There are moments in my life that bring the chills and goosebumps, as well as the tears that inform me God has gotten my full attention.
I believe that the reason I can’t quite remember the first time is because there have been countless other times. Nearly every day I have an epiphany of how the Lord continues to shape and mold us to serve an everchanging world. Our Lord is in my every breath, my life, my spirit, and my soul. And yet, I don’t say that very often. Whenever I share my call story, I skip over its beginning and how I have come to know what it means to have God in our lives.
In these days, when so many hunger to know that God is still with us, I encourage everyone to share those first moments when we learned that God is an essential part of our lives. Those moments are the foundation for how we have answered or are answering God’s call, for how we journey with those in need, and how we seek to become like Jesus in all that we say and do in His holy name. And Amen.