Today was a red-letter day.
I don’t remember my granddaddy baptizing me.
I do remember my confirmation, kneeling on the lumpy pad at the communion rail in my little church, my dad–my pastor–placing his hands on my shoulders, charging me with living into the faith that the saints in the church had passed down to me.
I remember my wedding day.
I remember when my son was born.
And I’ll remember today, my ordination day. A Red Letter Day.
It’s very late and I have to get up early tomorrow, but here are some unsystematic thoughts on my ordination:
- It was a beautiful worship service. When I was at the communion rail listening to the choir sing and waiting for my turn to mount the steps and kneel and receive my ordination, I felt my heart would break at the beauty and power of the music and the words and the occasion.
- It’s a powerful thing when the bishop places his hands on your head and commands
“David Andrew Forrest, take authority as an elder
to preach the Word of God,
to administer the Holy Sacraments,
and to order the life of the Church
in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
- The responsibility feels heavy. I am now responsible for passing on the faith of the saints and the martyrs to my people. What is it Isaiah says, “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips, from a people of unclean lips”? It’s a serious business.
- I was convicted by the visiting bishop’s sermon: the most important thing you can do is to love your people. The people at Munger, the people in East Dallas–they are the ones the Lord is asking me to care for. They are my people, and I am going to be held responsible one day for how well I loved and cared for them.
- I do actually feel different, now having been ordained. Even though few specific things in my life will change, still, something is different. I think I feel the responsibility more, and the power of it more. The bishop prayed for the Holy Spirit to pour out on me to give me strength–I’ll remember that the next time I’m discouraged or feel weak.
- I felt the same on my wedding day, and numerous times since then: I am abundantly blessed to have a wife like I do, one who feels called to be my partner in ministry. We are in ministry together. She’s quieter, kinder, and more faithful than me, and though I get the attention, without her, I’d struggle.
- My parents flew in tonight for the service and leave tomorrow. My dad is an ordained minister, as was my grandfather. I was overwhelmed during the service, thinking about what a gift my parents gave me: the gift of faith. They took their own baptismal vows seriously and raised me in the church and taught me about Jesus. It is literally a priceless gift.
- Ordination by the laying on of hands goes all the way back to Peter and Paul and Jesus himself. Amazing. The bishop who ordained me was once ordained by the laying on of hands, as was the bishop who ordained him, and so on, all the way back for 20 centuries.
- I feel totally unworthy, and at the same time really motivated to run the race set before me with endurance.
- My church and I have done this together and we are growing together.
- It was really humbling to see so many Mungarians there tonight. My wife and I constantly say to each other, “What did we do to deserve such great people, such a great church?”
- God is good, and I am so very very thankful.