Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. – 1 Timothy 4:14
If you’ve never attended a service of ordination in the Presbyterian church, where the yoke of Christ is literally placed on the shoulders of the ordinand in the form of a stole, where the laying on of hands passes on the unbroken tradition of continuing the ministry of Jesus, hand to head over two thousand years, then you have missed something truly remarkable.
Saturday afternoon we got to enjoy such an occasion at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. Bob Beichner, already an elder in our congregation and a professor at N.C. State, was called into ministry around the time we arrived here. Bob spent the next three years attending Duke Divinity school, earning his Masters in Divinity, and completing the process of inquiry and candidacy to become an ordained teaching elder – minister of word and sacrament – in the PC(USA).
It’s a lot, it’s very special, and the sense of spiritual gravitas at the service of ordination that caps the process is palpable.
The service, although it essentially represents the sending out of someone from our congregation, is actually an action of The Presbytery of New Hope (the association of PC(USA) churches we’re a part of). Consequently, the commission that took care of Bob’s ordination included representatives from several churches. Their names (and titles) will be included with their corresponding image in the slide show below.
The ordination service was both joyful and deeply serious. Bob asked our church’s organizing pastor, John LaMotte, to preach, our choir sung an amazing anthem, and Presbytery exec Ted Churn explained some of the unique circumstances that led Bob to this special day.
Then all ordained elders – teaching elders and ruling elders – were asked to come forward to lay hands on Bob, as Moffett offered the ordination prayer. This is real power, raw and unfettered, and it is the only way any man or woman can even attempt the task of serving in the capacity of minister of word and sacrament.
I don’t know how people let that power go, let the Spirit of God slip through their hands and out of their ministry – but so often they do. The only reason that Rebekah continues to lead, and preach, and pray, and teach, and live with such authority into the vision God has for The Church, is because of the Spirit of the Living God. And it is the only way that the newly rev-ed Bob Beichner can have a ministry that means anything. It’s not about us, it’s about Jesus.
So I’m thankful we had another opportunity to witness a service of ordination Saturday afternoon. Enjoy the balance of the photos in the slideshow. They tell the story better than I could.
Peace, Promise, and the phenomenal power of the Spirit – DEREK