Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ordination Expectations

If you haven’t heard yet, we celebrate and authorize the ordination to Christian ministry of Amber Churchill this Saturday at 2 p.m. (And if you haven’t heard — seriously, where have you been? We miss you.) Ordination is an incredible moment in the life of the church and in the person being ordained; it is a moment to step outside of our own context and hear the Yes of God resonate and bounce throughout the Church universal and eternal.

I’ve been to my fair share of ordinations — it’s one of the joys of staying local after divinity school — and something I’ve noticed is that every person’s service is different, even though they all use the same order of worship, and many times, the same calls to worship, reaffirmations and responses, usually. My friend Paul Carpenter is a mellow, thoughtful, almost monastic man centered in prayer, and his service was intimate, steeped in prayer, and invocative of a very present Holy Spirit. My friend Megan Amman is a gregarious, intelligent, folksy and inclusive, and her service was a call to everyone to go and serve (y’all), complete with a bluegrass anthem and the feeling you get watching fireflies in June. My service was on April 1st in the middle of Lent, and at times it felt more like a roast than a sacred service, but I promise you, the Spirit of God was there making our joy complete.

So what can we expect from Amber’s service of ordination on Saturday? She refuses to put God in a box under any circumstance, so a diversity of a lot of people, texts and ways to worship. She is brave and confident, so expect some good challenges and questions. She is inclusive and communal, so please expect a full house. And I realize as I write this I can tell you great things about her, but I won’t be able to say a word about her service until all is said and done, because that’s when God shows up, and makes things new, again and again and again. And not just in ordination, but in mission, in service, in faith development, in outreach, in evangelism, in worship, too — and a whole host of other ways and places, too. I guess I’m trying to say if we don’t see you Saturday, I hope we do see you Sunday. But I definitely hope we’ll see you Saturday, as well.

Shalom y’all,


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