Exactly one year ago the bishop put his hands on my head and said:
“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.”
I was ordained on June 2, 2014. (I wrote about my ordination day here.) What follows are some quick thoughts on what’s changed in the past year.
It’s Like Getting Married….
I’ve heard Hollywood couples say “We don’t need a piece of paper to prove our love for each other; we love each other now, even though we’re not legally ‘married.'” At first, that statement makes sense–if you are already living together, sleeping together, and sharing finances, what difference would getting married make?
Anyone who has ever been married, however, can attest: something does change after you say “I Do.” It’s hard to explain, but you are different when you walk out of that church than you were when you walked in.
It’s the same with ordination. I was already serving as a pastor at Munger, but when I walked out of the service that humid June evening one year ago, I was different. It’s hard to explain, but it’s true.
The One Thing I Never Question
I feel secure in my calling. There are lots of things I question, but I never wonder if the Lord has called me to be a pastor: I know that I’m doing what I was created to do.
And One Thing I Was Wondering This Past Sunday
This past Sunday at my church was Confirmation Sunday, when our 6th graders step up and claim the Faith as their own. It was my great privilege as their pastor to baptize and confirm 45 of them. During my confirmation sermon at our 11 AM service, I gave an aside in which I spoke to the students and told them that if any one of them was feeling called by God to do what I do–be a pastor, i.e., a shepherd of people–that they should do it. I mentioned what an absolute privilege it is to be with people cradle to grave, to share their greatest joys and sorrows, to preach the Word in season and out.
Later on, it was time for me to go along the line of kneeling 6th graders and place my hands on them and say:
[Name], the Holy Spirit work within you, that being born through water and the Spirit you may be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.”
As I moved down the line, the thought occurred to me that about 25 years ago (turns out it was 23 years ago–see below), a pastor put his hands on my head during my confirmation service at little Providence United Methodist Church in Dare, Virginia. I remember my confirmation as being a powerful moment–a “red letter day“–in my life.
What if one of the 45 students that I confirmed on Sunday were to find himself or herself in my place a quarter century from now? That would be too beautiful for words.
May God make it so.