This Past Sunday I was ordained. After four years of seminary and 15 years of serving in full-time ministry this service marked a culmination of part of my journey and the beginning all that is to come. Here are couple of impressions from the experience:
1) Take a good look at the picture of me in the robe and the rest of my "pastor clothes" because you probably won't see them on me very often. It actually meant a lot to me that day to wear them as a symbol of the life and ministry I am committing to…especially to wear the stole (the scarf-like thing that goes around your neck). My friend Kenyon made it out of the cast off material from Japanese silk. He took what someone else considered to be trash or waste and made it in to a symbol of God's grace. Pretty appropriate. Anyway, I choose not to wear my "pastor clothes" because, while I am called to do a specific role in the church as pastor, I am no different, holier, smarter, somehow more connected to God than anyone else. I do not want the clothes I wear to cause any barrier or confusion in this matter. Also, those suckers are hot and in this Carolina heat…well, you get the point.
2) The most moving part of the service for me was having the opportunity to serve the bread at communion. As people came forward I was struck how there were people there from all along my journey to this point. My parents and Godparents were there who wre present at and made promises at my baptism as a baby. There were family friends there who have known me since my awkward junior high days, one of my high school friends was there, my old roommate, former youth group kids, my old pastor… it was a remarkable experience that I'm not sure I will ever have the words to describe.
Anyway…the service was great and now I look forward to hitting the ground running as we begin Graceway Church. A new journey begins.