Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What Will Make A Difference

"What will make a difference to the future is awakening to a faith that fully communicates God's love--a love that transforms how we believe, what we do, and who we are in the world."  Diana Butler Bass in Christianity After Religion p. 37

One of the most intriguing comments I received at my ordination was from one who attended, and said "You sure did make a lot of promises up there.  I couldn't have done that."  Now before you make assumptions about who made those comments, it was not a twenty-something who struggled with commitment.  It was not a de-churched seeker afraid of institutionalized religion.  It was actually someone near retirement who draws their livelihood from a church.  It got me thinking.  I made my ordination vows not looking back at the past (though it was profoundly in my mind).  Nor was I looking at the Now, though things are pretty good for me and my family currently.  What I was looking at most definitely was my future and what I feel to be the calling and direction of God in my life.

This quote from the book we are reading for our Lenten study, Diana Butler Bass's Christianity After Religion.  The Chapter we are presenting tonight, "The End of the Beginning," ends with these words in bold above.  I was profoundly struck by how this was why I was able to commit to the vows I took.  I vow to the future, and attempt to live it out in the Now.  I want to fully communicate God's love in all I am doing and what I am about in my own becoming.  I want a faith that is authentic to the God I am only just beginning to know, and the authentic to the call of this ever-loving, always gracious God.

That is why I was able to vow:
Bishop      My brother, do you believe that you are truly called by God
              and his Church to this priesthood?

AnswerI believe I am so called.
BishopDo you now in the presence of the Church commit
yourself to this trust and responsibility?
AnswerI do.

BishopWill you respect and be guided by the pastoral
direction and leadership of your bishop?
AnswerI will.
BishopWill you be diligent in the reading and study of the
Holy Scriptures, and in seeking the knowledge of
such things as may make you a stronger and more
able minister of Christ?
AnswerI will.
BishopWill you endeavor so to minister the Word of God
and the sacraments of the New Covenant, that the
reconciling love of Christ may be known and
AnswerI will.
BishopWill you undertake to be a faithful pastor to all
whom you are called to serve, laboring together
with them and with your fellow ministers to build
up the family of God?
AnswerI will.
BishopWill you do you best to pattern your life [and that
of your family, or household, or community] in
accordance with the teachings of Christ, so that you
may be a wholesome example to your people?
AnswerI will.
BishopWill you persevere in prayer, both in public and in
private, asking God's grace, both for yourself and for
others, offering all your labors to God, through the
mediation of Jesus Christ, and in the sanctification
of the Holy Spirit?
AnswerI will.
BishopMay the Lord who has given you the will to do these
things give you the grace and power to perform them.

1 comment:

  1. I think I need to make this a daily re-commitment. Thanks, for this, Rock!


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