Reflection Paper II, February 9, 2011
EYM/2011 Praying Shapes Believing Chapter 8, ORDINATION RITES
In Chapter 8 of Praying Shapes Believing: A Theological Commentary on the Book of Common Prayer (Leonel L. Mitchell), all of the ordination rites current in our Church are described. Our assignment this month is to answer: “How do you understand that ‘ordination rites are of great importance to the entire church?’ ”
I have been reflecting, since looking at the assigned question, on the irony that one of my most effective ministries (which so obviously fits me like a glove!) produces no reasoned answer!?! As a member of the Commission on Ministry I am involved in so many aspects of Call, and the process of others’ responses to it. Outside the Commission, I bump into Called people’s Calls– all the time!
But thinking, now, just about the rites themselves–
- I can see and affirm that they are important because my own response to them is to attend them whenever I can.
- I can see and affirm that they must be equally compelling to all present because when I look around during them– which is itself one of my ministries– I see/value/join with the faces of these also-compelled people.
When I attend these rites I usually have two primary responses.
- The first is to “show up” to see for myself what will occur.
- The second is to move quietly to assist and support (and sometimes record or photograph) what seems most compelling.
I describe these as “responses” because God first Calls me to be there. I never know why until afterwards. I just go, with prayerfully-open curiosity and a trustful, partnering willngness to be used. And He always uses me once I am in the event.
Sometimes it is “just” to see and affirm His workings in others.
Sometimes it is to speak a Word given, See a thing to keep in my prayer heart for later, Know a thing to be used at another time when He commands its use.
We might describe these as prophetic occurrences, altough I know them as an array of specific, distinct spiritual Gifts. God owns them. Our words for them are never accurate enough. Our role in them is to be obedient to them, and humbly grateful for them.
At ordinations there is the whole Church, in microcosm. All the imperfections of humanity and its needs. All the glory of God– a many-faceted whole reflecting Itself endlessly.
In ice hockey it is often said, “Go to the net. Good things happen when you go to the net.”
Go to the ordinations. Good things happen when you go to the ordinations.