Monday, July 27, 2009

Ordination

I attended the ordination of one of the members of my church yesterday - Reverend Chris Yang. This is the second time I have had the privilege of seeing a member of my flock finish seminary and be ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry. It is not easy, I know, and I am very proud of him and his family for the journey they have taken. I am also proud of my congregation for their help in getting him through debt free. That is quite an accomplishment! But that is a promise I make to my seminarians: I will get them through debt free. My pastor made that promise to me, and I have made it to each of my men. Never sure how it would work, but so far it has. I think it is important that these men be able to devote themselves to their study and not have to worry about the finances. I hope that when one of Pastor Yang's men goes off to the seminary, he will make the same promise to them as well!

It was a great service, as ordinations usually are. Many members of Saint Athanasius were able to attend. Since Chris is called to be the pastor for the Chinese Ministry at his new church, the service was bi-lingual, including the sermon. Very interesting. It was also, I must admit, a bittersweet moment for me: sadness that Chris and his family have now "officially" left the fellowship of Saint Athanasius, but great joy that he is now no longer a parishioner of mine, but a brother in Office!

There was one thing I missed yesterday, though. At my ordination (14 years ago), the moment I remember most vividly was when all my brother pastors gathered around me and, laying their hands upon my head, spoke in unison the Lord's Prayer over me. The sound was thunderous! The weight of their hands on my head was great, the sound of their voices in my ears was deafening, and it was at that moment that the reality of it all sunk it. Yesterday, we prayed the Lord's Prayer, but not like that. That's okay. I wonder what part of the day Chris will remember the most?

Having Chris lead the prayers at the end of the service also brought back to me the memory of the disaster that almost was. It is the practice to have the newly ordained pastor lead the concluding liturgy. But when I was ordained, I had forgotten to prepare any closing prayers! So after the ordination, while the congregation was singing the hymn, I was at the altar, busily paging through the altar book, looking for prayers! (I knew there must be some!) Finally, I found some collects that I was able to pray, much relieved!

So hey - any pastors who may read or stumble across this blog and post - what part of your ordination do you remember the most?

2 comments:

Rev. James Leistico said...

My DP (Herb Mueller) preaching, "Just say the Word", from Luke 7:7 (the Gospel for that morning), a brother in the office saying Psalm 27:1 during the laying on of hands, and - just a minute or two before the service - an elder coming to ask if he should change the green paraments to red. too late.

Rev. Iovine said...

A vivid memory of my ordination ... me nearly passing out because it was 90 degrees and excessively humid outside and being ordained in a non-air conditioned church while wearing an alb and a chausible.

In all seriousness, outside of some guy preaching about the ministry I was entering --- I think you know the guy who preached ;-) --- Pastor Tom Green, after the service was completed, shook my hand and said, "Now get to work."