Ordained as Ministers: Every One of Us

 

Hello Gloria Dei,
I recall very vividly the day of my ordination. July of 1990. It was one of the great moments of my life. St. Timothy’s Lutheran in San Jose, a big gathering of congregation and family and friends and pastors. The bishop laid hands on my head and I became a minister, a pastor. The Holy Spirit was at work. I’ll never forget it.
 
A week from Saturday (May 28) at 5 p.m. you are cordially invited to attend the ordination of Bob O’Connor into the ministry of word and sacrament within our ELCA. Bob, as you know, will serve Gloria Dei largely in the area of congregational care. The Holy Spirit will be there too.
 
 
In our New Testament reading we are now in the book of Acts. Often this book is referred to as “The Acts of the Apostles”. While this is an appropriate title for this book which tells the story of the early church and its people, I think a more appropriate title is “The Acts of the Holy Spirit”.
 
 
On that first day of Pentecost, recorded in Acts chapter 2, the Holy Spirit was set loose in the world and the church began to grow in service to others, in numbers, and in proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ. That same Holy Spirit has been loose ever since, bringing people to a deep faith in Christ, through the proclamation of the Good News.
 
 
Now let me ask you: Do you remember the time you got ordained? You are you know, ordained for ministry. You are a minister, or servant, of the Gospel. Back in the early days of the church, the newly baptized Christian was given a new white robe. Many of you probably had on a white robe or outfit when you were baptized. It is symbolic of the new life given to you and the new life to be lived. The sign of the cross was made on your head and the promise of the Holy Spirit descending upon you was given. When you were baptized you were given a gift, the gift of ministry; and that gift is not our idea, it is God’s idea.
 
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus himself, calls and equips you for ministry. You may not hear a voice from the sky, but your call happened at baptism and you are now to live that call out with the promise that God’s Holy Spirit is with you, empowering you to participate fully in the ministry of Christ.
 
The church that has on its bulletin board out front, “Pastor: George Smith; Ministers: the whole congregation,” has it right. All of us are ordained by God to be ministers. Pastors are trained and ordained to proclaim the word, to administer the sacraments, and to help equip all of you ministers do your ministry, at church, at home, at work, with other people and wherever it is that you live out your life.
 
So, in a way I said it wrong. The day I got ordained was not that summer day in 1990 when the bishop laid hands on my head and made me a pastor. The day I was ordained was way back in August of 1961 when the pastor dipped his hand in a bowl of water and put it on my head, and I received the gift of the Holy Spirit from God himself, and I became of child of God and a minister, called and equipped to live out the gospel. Read through Acts chapters one through 14 for this week. Yes, the same Holy Spirit active in the lives of the early Christians is alive and active calling, equipping, and sending each of us for service, ministry, and sharing the gospel.
 
See you in worship,
 
Pastor Tim