The first time I was ordained I didn’t want it. I didn’t want those ministers signing their names to a document that would permanently connect me to this call. I went through the occasion with reservations, reservations I didn’t have when I was ordained by the Covenant.
Of course, that local church, my home church, was the best place to get that first experience. It was and is meaningful because it was the ground out of which God let me come to understand who I was as a person and as a servant. It was altogether right for me to be ordained there, even if by a local assembly.
The connectional ordination came much later, after much more specific, strategic work, but work in the same direction. You remember how important my being in Estes Park with the people of the Covenant was because of what happened with us and the boy. You heard me tell that story. You were there in spirit to contain and appreciate and mourn the badness. Of course, you were a part of the process of getting me through that ordination experience and there to help me engender and add the capstone of it in the conversation I had with Dr. Taylor.
Now that we’re celebrating this step in your journey, I hope that you can find an exactness and a rightness to this moment. I love that the church is acknowledging this call of yours, one that was underlined in the classrooms we both trafficked and one that the Spirit was fashioning in you in deep woods long before we met. Your journey with all its twists. Your journey expressed in children’s ministry and community building. Your journey with all of those words. Your journey locating wisdom from the ages for the people in your path.
Certainly God has used you. The church makes that known in its laying on of hands, its public declaration, its symbolic gifts. You are a great friend. You are a great pastor. You are great at so many things that I will keep out of the public post.
Consistently humble and attuned to the complex truths of your human experience, may you be ever mindful of your greatness. May this be, among other things, a clarifying series of moments for you. May you gain crisp pictures of wide places where God will use you. May you hear the voice of the One you have known before you knew you were praying. May you sense in compelling ways every blessing. May you have every needed grace for every next step.