I’d like to start by thanking all of you for allowing me this opportunity to give testimony
to my experience with our recent HomeFront Project.
Pastor Hahn originally asked me to address the congregation last Sunday. After I
informed him I would be unable to speak last Sunday b/c I’d be attending a work
conference in Atlanta, he granted me a one-week extension. The timing happened to
be perfect, b/c my trip permitted me some protected time to pause and reflect on my
HomeFront experience, and b/c during my travels I happened upon a very special place in
Atlanta that gave me a framework with which I could process and organize my thoughts.
While Atlanta has a lot to offer, I found myself gravitating to the Martin Luther King
National Historic Site. A place where you can visit his birth home, take a tour of an
exhibit that commemorates his life, and visit the reflecting pool that contains the tombs
of both Revered King and Corretta King. As amazing as it was to experience all the
aforementioned, the place that had the most profound impact on me was my visit to Rev.
This past Sunday, while you were here in service, I was most fortunate to be sitting in
the sanctuary of Ebenezer Baptist Church, listening to a 40 minute recording of one of
Rev King’s most memorable sermons. A sermon in which he details Three Dimensions
of a Complete Life, Length-Breadth-Height.
Rev. King first described the Length of Life, in which he challenges us to learn how
to truly love ourselves by striving to become the best person we can possibly be, to
take pride in our accomplishments, and to be humble in the realization that we did not
accomplish anything solely on our own, but only through the Grace of God, and with
interdependent assistance of all of humanity. Rev. King stresses the importance of
achieving Length of Life, or more simply put, learning how to truly love oneself, b/c it
is only by establishing this foundation, that an individual can fulfill one of God’s most
fundamental commandments, which is to love thy neighbor as thyself, in the way that He
Rev. King charges us to take action, by helping others and selflessly giving back to
community, as the best way to love thy neighbor and attain the next Dimension to a
Complete Life, Breadth of Life. He cites the story of the Good Samaritan as a prime
example. One particular point that stuck with me as Rev King spoke, is that he suggested
that if/when we are faced with exceedingly difficult challenges in our service offerings
and commitments, that we try to reframe our thinking from “What’s going to happen to
me if I stop to help my neighbor”, but rather to “What is going to happen to my neighbor
if I don’t stop to help?” He also conveyed that this applies not only to individual cases
such as Theresa-our HomeFront beneficiary, but also to society as a whole. Rev. King
did not suggest that we should put ourselves in harms way to help others, or to take on
problems that are beyond our capabilities, but rather to trust that God has given us the
knowledge and tools to intervene safely and effectively.
This brings me to HomeFront. I am a Physician Assistant who practices in Urology. If
you were to ask my boys, Ollie and Sam, they would tell you that this means Daddy
helps people with their pee-pee’s, however to my interdisciplinary work colleagues I
am kindly referred to as one of the plumbers of the medical system. In the HomeFront
Project I was ironically assigned to the Plumbing Team. I have to say that I was initially
intimidated by the work list, which comprised of replacing a toilet, changing faucets,
replacing a sub-floor, cleaning both bathrooms, changing a vanity, and re-caulking
the tub. I am proud to report that I managed to compensate for my limited handyman
skills with a little ingenuity and a fair amount of sweat, and was able to make a solid
contribution to the accomplishment of our team’s assignments. I’m extremely proud of
our team, because not only did we complete the task at hand, we were able to exceed
expectations by also painting the walls and ceilings, changing a light fixture, and adding
a towel bar and toilet roll holder. I am also extremely proud of all of the other teams as
well, because despite the extreme complexity of the immediate social situation, and the
limitations of both time and space, it turned out that everyone was able to rise above the
adversity, work efficiently and with purpose, exceed expectations, and result in a final
product that everyone could be proud of.
I feel extremely fortunate, in that HomeFront gave me an opportunity to bond with my
family, my pre-existing church friends, my new church friends, and with God. Amongst
the controlled chaos of the day, I was lucky to have a very brief moment of uninterrupted
time, when I was able to reflect on what was happening, to pray, and be fully aware that
I was in the presence of God. This just so happened as I was cleaning the bathroom.
Being particularly mindful of the situation:
I prayed to God, and asked His forgiveness for being judgmental.
I prayed to God and thanked Him for humbling me, for allowing me to have this
experience, and for helping me realize how infinitesimally small this sacrifice was in
comparison to all that Jesus has sacrificed for me.
It was during those prayerful moments that I was unknowingly achieving Rev. King’s
Third Dimension of a Complete Life, The Height of Life, otherwise explained as “loving
and knowing God”.
Having had time to reflect on Rev King’s Sermon, I can now cite other recent comparable
examples of my experiences with the Height of Life or “knowing God”, of which our
church has played a role. Specific examples include:
• witnessing Theresa thankfully embracing my father for fixing her kitchen sink
(which had been unusable for many years)
• repetitively listening to the Back to the Manger Soundtrack from the 2010 pageant
w/Ollie and Sam throughout the past two Advent Seasons in preparation for our
• watching the Passion of the Christ with my wife, Kristi, during our 24hour Good
• Baring witness to these experiences with you today.
It has only been short time that I have been attending this church but I can honestly say
that this community has helped me to succeed in striving to achieve Rev. King’s three
Dimensions Complete Life, Length (truly loving oneself), Breadth (loving thy neighbor),
and Height (loving and knowing God).
I thank you once again for allowing me to speak to you today, and I’m certainly looking
forward to having you be a part of my ongoing spiritual journey.
~ Kevin Pedneault ~