Today marks the first anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. Before that service, I felt that the ordination would be the culmination, the capstone, to my many years of discernment and journey to this particular ministry. And indeed it was; the ordination brought a season of my life to its fitting conclusion.
But those sentiments have proven to be awfully self-centered. This morning I prayed with the liturgy for the ordination to the priesthood. As I was reflecting and dwelling on those somber vows I made, I was struck by the immaturity of my previous thoughts. My ordination to the priesthood did conclude a period of my life, but that was but a small piece of what happened that evening. I realize now that the ordination to the priesthood is much more about the future, about the promises I made before the Most High.
Robert Jenson has these remarks about the Holy Spirit: “The Spirit is God as his and our future rushing upon him and us; he is the eschatological reality of God, the Power as which God is the active Goal of all things.”
As the Holy Spirit was most definitely present at my ordination, I trust that my ordination was about God’s and my future. That service was not about what had been accomplished, but it was rather about what my ministry meant for the Church in years to come.
This sense of moving forward to God’s future was physically apparent during the service. The people who had supported me through the many years of discernment and seminary, Courtland Moore, Patrick Hall, Maggie, and many others, were behind me. But the authority that I was placing myself under, the Bishop, Andy Doyle, was before me. As the representation of the whole apostolic Church, I made my vows to the Lord in front of him as if I was making them to the whole of Christ’s Church.
As I reflect upon my ordination for the rest of the day, I will try not to dwell on all that is past. Yes, God is most definitely the God of history. But if God is the God of history, then we must also believe that God is the God of the future, which will become history soon enough. Today, after a full year of ordained ministry in our Lord’s Church, I will meditate upon what God is calling me to in the future.
Who knows what that future calling will be; nevertheless, “I believe I am so called.”