The Day the Light Came On
I was born into a family of church people. My paternal grandmother was the widow of the pastor of Greater Mount Lebanon Baptist Church, four blocks down the street from my childhood home. My father was a deacon there and my mother played piano. In my early life, I knew the Sunday routine of Sunday school, worship, lunch, an occasional afternoon program, training union, and night service. One Sunday, my sister joined the church as we say, walking down the aisle, giving her hand to the pastor. The next week, my brother followed suit. While no one talked to me about those two episodes (in retrospect that was odd), I felt a nagging pressure to do the same. Even though I was six years old, and while deeply immersed in the activity of having church, Bible drills, training union and the like, I did not have the advantage of focused intentionality that kids at South Main receive. And so a few weeks later, I walked down that aisle, extended my hand to the pastor and said I want to join church; I want to be baptized; I believe in God. That began my official entry into the Kingdom, even though I was not sure what I was getting into, other than I was supposed to be like Jesus.
For my entire life, I have not thought of anything to do on a Sunday but go to worship. On the rare Sundays I have missed, I felt odd, out of place. Being out of town was no excuse. In the mid-1980s, I stood on the balcony of my apartment one Sunday afternoon. I even remember the suit I wore, standing there, gazing at the pool into which I never dipped even a toe, and at that moment I was struck by the thought that I am a child of God and, as Steve said recently, He has no grandchildren, nieces, nor nephews. I am His child. Also in that moment was the realization that, despite all of my many years of church attendance and music ministry, I was called to do more. I had a tremendous urge to spread the Good News that everyone is available to be adopted by the Father if one would only seek Him. From that moment on, I pledged to be a voice to call people to Him.
It has not been an easy journey, as being a Black female, I knew that I would not be accepted among my own people. And knowing that I would not be accepted among them, I had no expectation of being accepted by anyone else. Despite that, and despite my frustrations, and many disappointments, I continue striving to live out my calling with joy, letting His Light shine wherever I am. I have never had a pulpit in a sanctuary, but wherever I go, I try to carry His Light within me, being mindful that it may be the only Light someone else sees that day; and sometimes my voice delivers the only sermon one will hear. Jesus gave me a light; I'm going to let it shine.
Andrea Hoxie became a member of the South Main family on April 7, 2003. She is a member of the Diaconate, Sanctuary Choir, and the first South Main Christian Education Cohort. She is President of New Covenant Ministries, a nonprofit social service organization, and Grand Pea, Inc., an independent insurance agency.