What it means to be ordained

A fellow brother in the office who graduated three years from Concordia Theological Seminary before me has been posting quotes from Eugene Peterson’s book, The Contemplative Pastor.  I have it on my shelf from a class that I took during my fourth year at the sem, but haven’t read it.  Once he started posting quotes over on his blog, I pulled it off of my shelf and it’s now sitting on my desk, now one step closer into actually getting into my hands.  Maybe I’ll pick it up following Easter.

Anywho, here’s the latest of his quotes regarding ordination.

“We are going to ordain you to this ministry, and we want your vow that you will stick to it. This is not a temporary job assignment but a way of life that we need lived out in our community. We know you are launched on the same difficult belief venture in the same dangerous world as we are. We know your emotions are as fickle as ours, and your mind is as tricky as ours. that is why we are going to ordain you and why we are going to exact a vow from you. We know there will be days and months, maybe even years, when we won’t feel like believing anything and won’t want to hear it from you. And we know there will be days and weeks and maybe even years when you won’t feel like saying it. It doesn’t matter. Do it. You are ordained to this ministry, vowed to it.”

“There may be times when we come to you as a committee or delegation and demand that you tell us something else than what we are telling you now. Promise right now that you won’t give in to what we demand of you. You are not the minister of our changing desires, or our time-conditioned understanding of our needs, or our secularized hopes for something better. With these vows of ordination we are lashing you fast to the mast of Word and sacrament so you will be unable to respond to the siren voices.”

“There are many other things to be done in this wrecked world, and we are going to be doing at least some of them, but if we don’t know the foundational realities with which we are dealing – God, kingdom, Gospel – we are going to end up living futile, fantasy lives. Your task is to keep telling the basic story, representing the presence of the Spirit, insisting on the priority of God, speaking the biblical words of command and promise and invitation.”

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One thought on “What it means to be ordained

  1. Fabulous! Thank you for sharing! With the Lantz Center dinner just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my commissioning really meant when I stood before my friends and family and vowed to commit myself to Christian Education and head to seminary. Well, needless to say, things haven’t quite worked out like I vowed. At any rate, it is certainly a great reminder that while sometimes I don’t want to go to church and don’t want to go to the committee meeting, practice, whatever, that I have vowed to be dedicated to Christ and His church. And while maybe I’m not finished discerning that exact path (really, does it EVER end???!), I have made a vow and I will continue to go, whether I want to that day or not – what a great reminder for Lent. Thanks!
    Peace in Christ,

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