For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:14-21
Yes, that was a busy, busy weekend! Worship at WFPC, a retirement celebration for our good friend Ted Churn, graduation parties, then an ordination/installation Sunday afternoon. It’s like there is this need to reconnect and to celebrate with one another, and we want to do it all at once!
Of course, we do understand that the pandemic is not over. But at the same time we are in a community that has not only been behaving appropriately but can demonstrate a high rate of vaccination.
In that context, and pretty much right after getting home from church for a quick lunch, we drove into Raleigh for a worship service where Rebekah was part of the presbytery commission that ordained and installed new minister Andrea Clark Rock, at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Ordinations are just about the only time you will see pageantry at a Presbyterian church! Because it’s the Presbytery that does the commissioning, a good representation of ministers and elders participate. The preachers wear their robes and stoles, and the color red represents the Holy Spirit’s active role in ordination.
One of the most powerful moments is when the pastor kneels, and a crowd of people – preachers and elders – place their hands on her head and the “prayer of ordination” is offered. That same potency, that same fire and life that rested on the heads of the apostles, is imbued in a special way as both the authority of Jesus and the power of God’s Spirit is symbolically passed on via prayer and the laying on of hands.
Motive and Opportunity!
This was a particularly encouraging day because Westminster Presbyterian is a church on the edge of downtown Raleigh that has struggled through decades of change and uncertainty. But now, with the enthusiasm of a new pastor, a renewed sense of mission, and a belief in the promise of what is possible, this is a faith community with – as they say in the police detective shows – both motive and opportunity!
Rebekah had the privilege of giving “the charge” to pastor Andrea, who she had helped shepherd through the process of preparation for ministry.
She concluded with the scripture from Ephesians, above, that the new pastor – and all of us – “Grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Because we are witnesses to light and grace – immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine – wherever God gives us the opportunity to shine. – DEREK