by Fletcher Lowe
…making some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry….
So the Episcopal bishop, in quoting Ephesians, began the consecration of my good friend, Gwynn, as a priest recently.
I heard those words as I “attended” virtually her ordination. Aside from my joy in joining with her as she enthusiastically responded and celebrated, my mind began to look at the service through the lens of how the new priest is called to empower the Baptized in their daily lives. Although the service was specially about her calling, there were some nuggets reminding both her and us of her calling to empower us all in our calling as a holy priesthood (1 Peter2:5).
For all members of your Church in their vocation and ministry that they may serve you in a truly and godly life. we pray to you, O) Lord.
Those words, coming early on in the Litany for Ordinations, reinforces Ephesians, underscoring that all the Baptized have vocations and ministries.
When my friend was examined by the bishop, some of these words resonated:
All Baptized people are called to make Christ known as Savior and Lord and to share in the renewing of his world, and You are to nourish Christ’s people from the riches of his grace and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come.
Then I heard words that, in this specific case, are for the priest, to radiate out to all the Baptized:
Will you do your best to pattern your life in accordance with the teachings of Christ, so that you may be a wholesome example to your people?
Will you persevere in prayer, both in public and in private, asking God’s grace both for yourself and others, offering all your labors through the mediation of Jesus Christ and in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit?
Along with these relevant quotes from the service, one other thing struck me. Because of the virus, there were only ten people in person at my friend’s service. It reminded me of one of my visions about the relationship of Baptism and Ordination. My vision is that when we have fully restored the centrality of Baptism, the major sacrament, in the life of the Church, Baptisms will take place in packed cathedrals amidst trumpet sounds and full processions with choirs and crosses and banners! Ordinations, on the other hand, being a minor sacrament, will take place in smaller venues with a few friends and family in attendance!
Anybody share my vision?