Last September - which feels like a very long time ago indeed - Shirley was ordained priest and David deacon. This coming weekend, David is to be ordained priest, and Jon, our new curate, will be ordained deacon. In September I wrote a piece for the eMag entitled 'All are Called' and I dare to believe it is worth re-reading: you can find read it here
Apart from the act of ordination itself, the heart of the ordination service is the Ordinal: the words spoken by the Bishop to the candidates. It is serious stuff, and I always re-read it on my own anniversaries. (You can read it online here) As I write this article on the 29th anniversary of my own ordination, I am reminded of the weight of those words that I had heard read a few moments earlier. They end like this:
You cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength, but only by the grace and power of God. Pray therefore that your heart may daily be enlarged and your understanding of the Scriptures enlightened. Pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
What Jon and David are signing up to this weekend is heavy stuff. It is not a job: it is a way of life, a calling, something that is not easy to clock in and out of, a state of being that is permanent and lifelong. They need your kindness, and your love. They need your prayers.
As we lead Great St Mary's out of one of its most difficult periods in recent history we are moving forwards apace. For some it will be too fast, for others too slow; and I have been in ministry long enough to know that growth does not come without change, and change never comes without tears. But when you pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit, change is what happens.
Jon and David will be changed for ever on Sunday. I hope that, by their ministry among us, we will be changed too. Heavy stuff. So: Pray therefore that your heart may daily be enlarged and your understanding of the Scriptures enlightened. Pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
PS In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word for 'glory' derives from the word for 'weight'