Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ – The Lord be with you!
I have had the wonderful privilege this week of leading three Candidates through their Pre- Ordination Retreat for the Diaconate and am the preacher of the Homily at the Ordination service. It has been a time in which I have been reminded of my own journey towards ordination and my days as a Deacon in the Church of God (ordained Deacon 1 July 2006). Throughout the process I have had to think about how I felt with ministry lying ahead of me compared to how I feel now looking back on twelve years of ordained ministry. I am pleased to be able to say that I am still as passionate about ministry, even though all the more aware of the challenges now, than I was aware of then. I chose to highlight something from the Deacons Charge (you can read the charge on pg. 583 (APB) of your prayer books) that I believe is an important lesson for the church and a calling for the church to be more diaconal in its approach – “ You are to interpret the needs, concerns and hopes of the world to the church.” As the great Deacon St Francis said – “seek first to understand and then to be understood” I believe that as a church we need to be better at listening. We need to be able to interpret what the noise of the broken crying out for justice, is really saying, we need to be able to discern the cry for help behind the anger and frustration. We are inclined to demand that our message of truth be heard but we are not willing to break down the filters and the barriers that block people’s ears to the truth. We are called to “interpret the needs, the concerns and the hopes of the world to the Church’, and then we can respond appropriately. In my community work what I hear the most is that the church does not take seriously to heart the real issues of our day. I hear that “the Church is so heavenly minded that it is no earthly good.” I believe that we are the only people that can truly confront the magnitude of the world’s issues, for most people the problems of the world seem just too big to deal with. But for us, facing giants is what we do. For us, dealing with the broken and the helpless and the hopeless and the imprisoned is what we do. Jesus sent us to continue His ministry of breaking the chains, of setting captives free. The world is held captive by fear, of “Global Warming” Political uncertainty, Financial uncertainty, plagues and pestilence, corruption and power and so forth. But we need not fear the power of any adversity. Therefore, we should confidently engage with the issues of our time, in the confidence that Jesus our Saviour gives us: that His will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
As we celebrate the Triune God, Father Son and Holy Spirit we celebrate the Wisdom of God, the power of God, the imminence of God and the mission of God. We are reminded that we have been justified by faith and that in that faith we are to go into the world and love it back to God.
For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son – do we, so love the world that we will be sent (answer the call and go) to love the world, protect the environment, teach children to read, feed the hungry, empower the poor and downtrodden, uplift the weak, heal the sick, comfort the dying?
As we worship the Trinity, may we in obedience to God the Father, go into the world; in the Name of Jesus the Son go into the world and in the power of the Holy Spirit, go into the world, to be ambassadors of reconciliation.
Be assured of my prayers.