Monday 1 October 2007

Three new priests in Aylesbury

Michaelmas Ordination Day. Congratulations to Paul Willis (Wycombe), Jan Henderson, (Ellesborough & Stoke Mandeville) Claire Wood (Buckingham), ordained priest at St Mary's Aylesbury on Sunday evening. Many thanks to Fr Shane, Canon Andrew Meynell, and everyone who handled the practicalities. Three completely different people on the way out told me about various moments in the liturgy they "filled up" — it was all very moving. I don't know why God fingers people for priesthood, but am immensely grateful that he does call people to this ministry, to be signs of hope and agents of the kingdom.

In her sermon, Beverley Mason focussed our thoughts on what this is really all about — the authority that comes from anointing (Christ's and that of all the baptised, as well as the particular grace of ordination) and the commission of Isaiah 61/ Luke 4 to proclaim and go out and live the calling to Jubilee —
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion--
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, to display his glory
Beverley also reminded us of the real meaning of it all — the peace and salvation of the world. It made all the in-house churchy politics in the media seem self-indulgent and, frankly, rather silly. Agitators and politicos feel immensely grand and important as they bang off emails to their chums about who's in and who's out, but real authority in the Church cannot ever come from that stuff, and any human "qualifications" are all crap (St Paul's phrase in Philippians 3:8), compared to what this is really all about — Christ's ministry to the world through us.
He is alive and well, working his good purpose in the real world. Are we?

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