Dear Craig, Meagan, Justin, Tanya, and Selinde,

Having just spent the best part of four days with you on your pre-ordination retreat, you are in my thoughts, my heart and my prayers.

Two days from today, you will stand in front of a large group of people some of whom you will know, many of whom will be complete strangers. Before this diverse gathering you will pledge yourself to an odd commitment.

You are about to commit yourself to a life of service to God through, or at least in connection with, that faith expression we call the Anglican Church.

I call this an odd commitment because, for the majority of people in the culture  in which you will carry out your ministry, what you are doing will seem completely incomprehensible. This commitment will not bring you material wealth. It will not lead to great prestige or power in any tangible form. You will fulfill the commitment you are about to make, largely unnoticed and unacknowledged by the dominant powers of the world.

No doubt as you carry out this ministry to which you are committing yourself, there will be people whose lives you affect, at times in profound ways. There may be small ways in which you are able to influence in a positive direction  some of the expressions of community in which you share. You may serve as a source of healing and reconciliation in the midst of the terrible brokenness of the world you will navigate in ministry.

But, the truth is, on the whole, ordained ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada is not going to be filled with earth-shaking accomplishments or world-changing achievements.

You are committing yourself to a toil whose results will remain largely invisible.

Fortunately, it seemed to me in our time together this week, that you do not appear  to feel called to spectacular achievement, or impressive accomplishment. It has seemed to me in our discussions over these past days, that you sense your call is more to faithfulness than to grandeur. You seem genuinely content to follow the voice of Love Who has brought you to the point in your life where you desire to travel in the mystery of that invisible realm that is more real and more fulfilling than any external achievements or accomplishments.

The future is uncertain. The institution into which you will be ordained on Sunday faces many challenges.

But the future has always been, and will always be, uncertain in this physical time-bound material realm. The only guarantee is that, if you continue doing the deep inner work we shared this week, you will experience great richness and profound reward. You will discover that your ministry can flow from a steady place of inner knowing, wisdom and abundance. You will be sustained on this journey to the degree that you remain close to the Source of all life.

I am encouraged by your commitment and touched by your desire to follow the gentle inner stirring of the Spirit. This commitment and desire will guide you well no matter what the future may bring.

As you come to your ordination may you continue to open to the Deep Mystery Who has brought you to this place. May you lay aside all need for results or predictable outcomes. May you be touched by the profound beauty of the commitment you have been moved to offer.

You have been blessed with grace and beauty. Your life in ministry will bear these qualities as you stay close to the God who gives them.

May God bless and guide you. May you be filled with the awareness of that abundance of Love that is your true nature in Christ and your only hope for sustaining the commitment you are about to make.

 

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