Today is Maundy Thursday – derived from the Latin ‘mandatum’ which means commandment. It is from the closing words of The Gospel “A new Commandment I give unto you.” (John 13:34)
Traditionally today has two Eucharist services – at the Morning Eucharist the Priests renew their vows and the oils for healing and for consecrating the ordained, is blessed. At the Evening Eucharist which I will send you a reflection on later today, we commence the Triduum (The Good Friday through Resurrection Sunday event).
Today no Chrism Eucharist at the Cathedral will take place, and so it is a sad day in a sense for the clergy, who cannot corporately celebrate and reaffirm their vows.
I sat quietly in my study in the early hours of this morning and renewed my vows to God and to you the people that He ordained me to serve. I commit myself anew to the ‘trust and responsibility of the priesthood to which I am called’. It is not an easy commitment as it is a commitment to do a new thing, an unfamiliar thing a thing of great uncertainty; as I know that the way that I have ministered in the past, to you and to the world has changed and I am experiencing the challenge of developing an entirely different methodology. But the message uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures is the same, even though we know the end is near and that we have much uncertainty to face, it is not uncertainty in the outcome of our faith, we know that God will lead us into eternal salvation, but the uncertainty lies on the road which is filled with many obstacles and challenges and temptations and so many of our certainties are held in our traditions and customs, that with them being challenged, there is uncertainty in the way we “do church” teach the faith, hold the community together, celebrate the Sacraments and the way we lead the church.
But this I know, that with God’s help through the power of the Holy Spirit, ‘I will continue to banish error in doctrine and provide sound teaching based on the Holy Scriptures’.
“I will accept the discipline of this church and reverently obey the Bishop and other ministers set over me.’ Our current leadership crisis makes this a challenge, I’ll be honest, and we need to reform much, in our church. But this challenge to our leadership will not be a rebellion, but a reformation.
‘I will be diligent in prayer and in the reading of the Holy Scriptures and in my studies.’
‘I will endeavour to minister the word of God and His sacraments with reverence and joy’
I realize that the sacramental nature of our Church is under pressure. But God will show us how to worship him and participate in Christ – our celebration of the Eucharist is central to sustaining our faith and we have to hold onto the theology of the Eucharist even if we express it differently.
‘I will help those in my care to discover their gifts and use them’ – this is possibly the most important part of the work of the future. Each one of us must use our gifts to serve and empower the part of the world that we are given dominion over. In our families and in the world as we re-create a new way of living. After every collapse of civilisation, Christians have played a role in rebuilding society, not from the top, not from positions of power, but everyday Christians, living out their hope in the world. As St Peter has said, “Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you” (1 Peter 3:15 GNB)
With God’s help!
‘I will strive to fashion my life and that of my household according to the way of Christ”
‘I will promote unity and peace and love among God’s people’
On the 1st of July 2006 I was made a Deacon and on the 23rd of June 2007 I was Ordained Priest, and I have strived to fulfil these vows all those years. For where I have failed, I ask your and God’s forgiveness. And I ask you to pray for me as I seek to fulfil what is mine to do in the Kingdom among you.
I walk as a servant of God among you and it is God who is at work in you, and I have the privilege of walking in your holy space. It is a privilege that I do not take lightly and one which I am humbled by.
Pray for me and pray for your Church and seek the Lord for he is your salvation.
God is our refuge and our strength. (Ps 46)