Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thirty-Six Years

September 15, 1974.

Seminary was done.

Clinical Pastoral Education was done.

I had already been serving as student pastor at the church and now it was time for ordination.

Dr. Thor Harberg (l), District President and
Bishop Edwin Kortz (c) presided.

Yes, I agree that The Ordinand (r) (me) looks in a state of shock.

Here then are some thoughts on ordination as put together by the Moravian Interprovincial Faith and Order Commission:
  • The purpose of ordained ministry is to prepare, support, and assist all baptized Christians in their ministry.
  • The ministry of the ordained is an expression of the ministry of the whole people of God and a response to the call and gifts of Christ who is Chief Elder of the Church and its ministry.
  • Something does change [in ordination]: the identity, if not the essence, of the one who has received the laying-on of hands. He or she has been called, appointed and publicly recognized as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This identity is not revoked even when the person ordained ceases to exercise the functions of ordained ministry or changes the context for her or his ministry.
  • Historically, ordination has been considered a lifelong, indelible covenant. The Moravian Church has accepted this understanding and should continue to do so.
  • Finally, one more proposition, for meditation and consideration: “Reverend” is an adjective, not a noun.

From On Ordination, Moravian Interprovincial Faith and Order Commission.
I agree with the statements above and I continue to wrestle with the meaning of ordination for myself now that I am "retired" from the active ministry and have been in secular ministry since January 2004. It is a lifelong, indelible contract. I still stop and meditate on this each year. Perhaps I see my ministry as outside the one of helping "baptized Christians." Identity is real, even if only internal to my being. Or perhaps it has something to do with how I live my life, even in secular settings.

No matter what the specifics, I give thanks today for my ongoing opportunities for living out my call. I give thanks for the grace of God given to me to share and witness to.

Thanks be to God in Jesus Christ, my Lord!

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