I’ve never so busy when it comes to the Church for a long while, the last one week plus was an exception. So it’s good to slowly slow down before moving on the next step.
The Lutheran Church in Malaysia & Singapore just finished our 30th Biennal Convention climaxing with the dedication of the new Luther Centre, prayer of blessing of the reelected Bishop Philip Lok Oi Peng, installation of the new EXCO and the ordination of 11 pastors.
The theme for the whole convention and celebrations was “Christ – The Church’s One Foundation.”
There’s so much I could reflect on. Perhaps going through them chronologically might be a little too dry :-) I’ll go with the flow and jot down whatever comes to my mind first.
First, I’m so happy for Rev. Naomi Tan, the associate pastor of Bangsar Lutheran Church on her ordination. What’s interesting to note is that both of us were ordained on the 31 of August. She in 2009. Me in 2003 .
Rev. Wolfgang and I decided to give Naomi a unique and special stole all the way from Germany but made in Latin America. 🙂
It’s been quite a journey for Naomi thus far, the joy on her face is sparkling! LOL.
For the BLC family and friends, especially the Gardeners (i.e. council members), we are thankful that we could be part of her adventures too. There’s a season for pause, examination and reflection, but for now it’s a season of celebration and thanksgiving. So, we share in Naomi’s joy too!
For me, personally, it was also a good reminder of what ordination means for us as pastors more generally in the Church and the world, and specifically in and through the LCMS. THE ORDER OF ORDINATION we used during the service below articulates those important themes, and relevant scriptures.
My prayer for Rev. Naomi Tan that God indeed would continue to walk with her in this long journey of ministry and mission in our world, as she is continues to be open for God to bless her to be a blessing to others!
An important reminder to all of us is that the ordination of our pastors is a reminder of our “ordination” through baptism to reflect God’s ministry and mission in and through us – personally and as a community- in our respective spheres of living and the whole of life! Our response is “We will, and we ask God to help us!”
(The Secretary presents the ordinands to the Church.)
I present for ordination to the holy ministry of Word and Sacrament: ________ who have been prepared, examined, and certified for this ministry and who have been called by the Church to the office of pastor.
(The bishop addresses the ordinands.)
P: Our Lord Jesus Christ says: "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." (John 20:21-23)
And again: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Matthew 26:18-20)
P: Before almighty God, to whom you must give account, and in the presence of this Church, I ask: Will you assume this office, believing that the Church’s call is God’s call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament?
O. I will, and I ask God to help me.
P: The Church in which you are to be ordained confesses that the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God and are the norm of its faith and life. We accept, teach, and confess the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds. We also acknowledge the Lutheran Confessions as true witnesses and faithful expositions of the Holy Scriptures. Will you therefore preach and teach in accordance with the Holy Scriptures and these creeds and confessions?
O: I will, and I ask God to help me.
P: Will you be diligent in your study of the Holy Scriptures and in your use of the means of grace? Will you pray for God’s people, nourish them with the Word and Holy Sacraments, and lead them by your own example in faithful service and holy living?
O. I will, and I ask God to help me.
P: Will you give faithful witness in the world, that God’s love may be known in all that you do?
O. I will, and I ask God to help me.
(The bishop and the ordinands turn to face the congregation).
P: Will you, assembled as the people of God and speaking for the whole Church, receive these pastors as messengers of Jesus Christ sent to serve God’s people with the Gospel of hope and salvation? Will you regard them as servants of Christ?
C: We will.
(The ordinands kneel.)
P. Holy God, mighty Lord, gracious Father, we bless you for your infinite love in Christ our Lord, in whom we have redemption and forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace. We thank you that by his death your Son has overcome death and, having been raised by your mighty power, has ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. We praise you that Christ has poured out his gifts abundantly on the Church, making some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, to equip your people for their work of ministry for building up the body of Christ.
(The bishop lays hand on the head of the ordinand individually. Other bishops also impose their right hands.)
P. Eternal God, through your Son, Jesus Christ, pour out your Holy Spirit upon ____________ and fill him/her with the gifts of grace for the ministry of Word and Sacrament. Bless his/her ministry, so that your Church may be gathered for praise and strengthened for service. Make him/her a faithful pastor, patient teacher, wise counsellor. Grant that in all things he/she may serve without reproach, that your people may be renewed and your Name be glorified in the Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.
(A stole is placed over shoulders of the ordinand as the bishop says.)
P. Receive this stole as a sign of your work, and walk in obedience to the Lord Jesus, serving his people and remembering his promise: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt 11:28-30)
(After all ordinands have been ordained, the bishop says.)
P. "Strive for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith." (1 Tim. 6:11)
"Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory." (1 Peter 5:24)
(The bishop pronounces blessings upon the newly ordained. Congregation stands.)
P. The God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever.
C. Amen. Thanks be to God.
(The congregation may offer acclamation with applause.)