It’s a weird word, meaning lots of different things to different people. Being ordained is quite strange too in many ways and the reaction in others as a response to it are wide and varied.

Today I had a study day and although most of it was used to think and start to write my sermon for Sunday morning I reflected a little on ‘what is this ordination lark all about?’

I remembered a card with great words about ordination from my great friend Richard sent me which was a great place to start my reflections:

You are not ordained to minister; that happened at your baptism.
You are not ordained to be a caring person; you are already called to do that.
You are not ordained to serve the church; this is already implied in your membership.
You are not ordained to become involved in social issues, ecology, race, politics, revolution; for this is laid upon every Christian.

You are ordained to something smaller and less spectacular:
To read and interpret those sacred stories of our community,
so that they speak a word to people today;
to remember and practice those rituals and rites of meaning that in their poetry address people at the level where they operate;
to foster in community through word and sacrament that encounter with truth which will set men and women free to minister as the body of Christ.

Today I have been attempting to read and interpret sacred stories so that they may speak into lives I connect with.

Remembering these words gves me a level of excitement as I look forward to the rest of the week.

Thanks Richard!

3 thoughts on “ordination

  1. Hey Rob… glad your excited πŸ™‚ and I don’t want to do any parade raining… but… I agree with Richards first paragraph, but am a bit puzzled as to the second… what I struggle with is, I guess, 3 fold..1) Why are these things not also part of the life of the whole community – why does only one person have the responsibility for interpretation of the stories and rituals, for fostering the “encounter with truth” – surely Richard could have equally written “You are NOT ordained to read and interpret those sacred stories of our community, so that they speak a word to people today; that is incumbent on all who walk with God in the world” etc. 2) Where is the need for a lifelong title in this… where is the fluidity and seasonal ebb and flow of community … the institution of Ordination seems to me to set this in stone, it negates the flexibility (the stepping down and allowing others to take the front for a period/season etc.) 3) Ordination isn’t currently IMHO about community, it’s primarily about a sense of personal role or calling – Priests move from church to church but never lose their title – So it is about the Priest not the communities call for leadership. (the difference would be someone like Ben Edson who has been ordained from within Sanctus1, but even then I have questions about why he feels the need to have a lifelong title) I really think Ordained Pioneer ministry is going to have to wrestle with huge questions in a few years time when curacies/first jobs are coming to an end and questions such as what happens to the new communities when the Priest has to move on? What happens if in the Community they person with the Title doesn’t actually turn out to be the apostolic or even priestly person in that community? I’m concerned that in itself it negates the real debates about leadership and structure in the Church… I fear that it is for many an attempt to reuse the old wineskin, which could result in a big mess in the not-to distant future!Sorry to be a such downer πŸ˜‰

  2. Cheers MarkThey are fair comments and I agree with you to a large extent. Ordination can imply we are saying only that person can do a particular thing, but I don’t think it has to be like that.The first paragraph from Richard does outline, I think, stuff that all Christians are called to.The second paragraph outlines stuff that some are called to do (some to be teachers, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists … etc in Eph 4 (I think!)and you are correct that those do not all need to be ordained. I think the poem (?) is drawing attention to the fact that this is what one is ordained for … but it is not taking that bigger step of saying it is only the ordained that can do these.I think the poem’s second paragraph sums it’s whole intent in its first few words speaking of a ‘smaller less spectacular task’ and in it’s last few words with the purpose of ordination to ‘set men and women free to minister as the body of Christ.’The lifelong title, then, is not to interpretation or to any other task as in my mind they seem quite ‘spectacular’ and privileged things to be doing. The calling is one of enablement – a specific role of identifying, encouraging, enabling, (stuff that often happens behind the scenes) rather than a hierarchical role of authority which we all have mainly bad experience of.I think that is how I was reading it – but it does not answer your question or point about OPM and what happens in a few years … it is a discussion that needs to be had and should have already started.

  3. Pingback: ordained to ….. | The Shiny Headed Prophet

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