I remember the night I got ordained. It was one of the great moments of my life, June 15, 1976, in the Old Church (now becoming Christ Chapel) here at St. Martin’s. It was memorable for a whole host of reasons: gathered family and friends, glorious music, and thirteen inches of rain that threatened to wash out the whole event! Yet the most memorable moment was when my Godfather, the Rt. Rev. John Hines, and the other clergy that managed to get there through the flood, laid hands on my head and made me a priest, a minister of the Gospel. I’ll never forget that evening.
Do remember when you got ordained? You ARE ordained, you know! Just as Jesus was baptized to begin His ministry, by virtue of your baptism, you are a minister of the Gospel. In the early rites of baptism, the Church made this very clear. In those days, the newly baptized Christian was given a new white robe, symbolic of the new life that was now being lived. Hands were laid on the head of the person, a sign of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the empowerment to be in ministry with Christ in the world. Then a Bible was given, a sign that this new Christian was to continue to study the Word, but also to be in the world preaching and teaching.
So, in a way, my opening paragraph is wrong. The day I got ordained was not that rainy night back in 1976, but was rather 78 years ago tomorrow in January 1943, when my father dipped his hand in the baptismal font, poured water on my head, then put his hand on my head, signifying that I had been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, and made me a minister for the sake of Christ.
Your clergy preach and teach to empower you for your ministry. So get out there and be that minister God, through the Holy Spirit, has called you to be. For the sake of the Kingdom of God, take on new challenges that are so demanding that you have to rely on the Holy Spirit to uphold you and guide you. Because you are ordained for service, you matter to God, and He will not forsake you.