Here Am I; Send Me
Deacon Sue and I spent this past Saturday in Baltimore at the cathedral for two ordination services. The first was at 10:00 and saw the ordination of two deacons. The second was at 2:00 and saw the ordination of five priests.
Ordination services are always joyous affairs. The color of the day is red, so you get to see a bunch of red stoles you normally don't get to see. Clergy gather around the ordinands as Holy Orders are conferred on them by the bishop. There is a sense of hope as things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new. You get to see the joy in their eyes as they help celebrate their first Communion, and you notice the difference they feel in administering the Body and Blood to those in attendance for the first time as ordained clergy. And, for the most part, there were only one or two times when I got the liturgical heebie jeebies; which isn't bad for two services that spanned four hours or so.
After we exchanged the Peace, the bishop reminded those in attendance at both services that, through the centuries, the Church has called a small percentage of people to serve as deacons and priests. That is not because those people are more special than others, but simply because they have a different ministry. When asking, “Who are the ministers of the Church?” the Catechism clearly states they are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons. As we continue to recover from the COVID pandemic, as we see a hurting world in need of healing, we know the Church has a big job ahead of her, and it will take all of her members to bring the healing presence of Christ to the world around us.
During the Examination in the ordination service of a deacon, the bishop says, “Every Christian is called to follow Jesus Christ, serving God the Father . . .” And at the ordination of a priest, the bishop says, “All baptized people are called to make Christ known as Savior and Lord, and to share in the renewing of his world.” These two ordination services make clear that all people are ministers within different orders.
As we move into summer and people take vacations and trips, I would ask that you take some of that time to discern how you might serve the Church in general, and Saint John's in particular. Fall is not that far away, and as people begin to return to onsite worship we need everyone to participate in various ministries. John Sabine has a pick-up choir through summer; drop in and check it out, and maybe you will find a home with our music ministry. Kim Halsey and the Service & Outreach group are always looking for ways to put our faith into action. Charlie Chaney and the Fabric & Grounds group have no shortage of things needing attention around the building. We are still looking for a Treasurer. Our worship service needs people to serve in the Altar Guild, as Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, and Acolytes. What interests and skills do you have that you can offer up?
I'm reminded of the hymn, “Jesus calls us o'er the tumult of our life's wild, restless sea, day by day his clear voice soundeth, saying, 'Christian, follow me'.”
As the recovery from COVID continues, we must all answer the question: How will you serve?