This Sunday we’re doing things slightly out of order at Western – not the for the first time, and probably not the last. We’ll ordain and install two elders and one new deacon in April, instead of January, given some turnover in our leadership. In a few weeks we’ll say good-bye to (Deacon) Dave and (Elder) Jackie Escobar, as they relocate to new posts in Savannah, and we are going to miss these two faithful servants! Thanks to the good work of the nominating committee, we will ordain and install Jen Druliner and Beth Duris to fill their positions, and Becky Koenig to fill an additional vacant spot.
As I’ve talked with each of these three in preparation for this Sunday, we’ve talked about the ordination and installation questions that each elder, deacon or pastor must answer whenever we are commissioned to serve. We’ve talked about Jesus, about our theology, about serving the church, all with “energy, intelligence, imagination and love,” to use the language of the promises we make.
Each time I reflect on these questions with new leaders, I appreciate how they frame our shared life, giving us the basic postures or necessary ingredients for church leadership, Presbyterian-style.
I’m constantly aware that while the language sometimes sounds archaic – as in the promise to “sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith” – the meaning is ever-fresh: to be led by God’s grace, open to God’s reforming Spirit, showing the love and justice of Jesus Christ.
Many of you have made these promises, some of you multiple times. This Sunday, as we “decent and in order” Presbyterians make these promises again, at a different time than we usually do, may you find your own promises renewed, and may you discover God’s Spirit bringing you the same energy, intelligence, imagination and love.
Grace and peace,