Ordination Sermon, St. George’s Anglican Church, Ventura, California
31 May 2015 Anno Domini
Let the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Amen.
We have gathered here at this time and place today to worship the Lord in Holy Communion, and to ordain in prayerful contemplation two men whom the Lord has called into His ministry of Holy Orders as priests.
In the United States, a commission grants authority to act on behalf of the Chief Executive Power – the President.
In the Church, the commission to preach the Gospel is granted to all whom the Lord has called into His Holy Ministry.
Acting on behalf of the Almighty Sovereign of all Creation, the ministry calls for men whose integrity is unassailable and whose faith is tried and proven.
Such men must never exceed the terms of their calling in God, but to preach His pure and unadulterated Word, and to quit themselves as men of an Holy disposition.
Reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew 28:19-20
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The ministry of God is a sacred trust the violation of which will redound to the great detriment of the offender. For, as we read from 1 Cor 14:8 –
For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (1 Cor 14:8)
An UNCERTAIN sound resounds throughout the world, and even the Church, today. Holy Scripture has been abandoned in favor of social issues to soothe itching ears. The teachings from the modern pulpit are influenced more by the values of the world than of the church.
As ministers of God, we are not to compromise on the Word of God to please social engineers or the wicked inclinations of those who are in rebellion against the Lord of Glory and His Holy Word.
As will be discovered from the Epistle reading for today, God has established orders for His ministers. The authority granted is not our own, but belongs solely to God. As ambassadors and emissaries of the Divine Power, we are to represent, in minute detail, the will and teaching of Him who sent us.
The labor of the ministry is not labor at all, but a blessed rest for the true ministers does not his own works, but the woirks of Christ are to be manifested throughout his life.
9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Heb 4:9-10)
Incidentally, the Greek word for”rest’ in verse nine is Sabbatismos (referring to the eternal Sabbath we enjoy in Christ by allowing Him to work through us and suppressing our own works by the power of the Holy Ghost.
In the Holy gospel for today (Matthew 9), we read of the plenteous harvest that awaits those who sow the seed of the Gospel near and far.
We are to sow indiscriminately on all soils. The germination oif those seed we sow is not our affair, but that of the Holy Ghost that nurtures and works in the heart of the earth to awaken the tiny seed to grow and to reach for the sun.
Unfortunately, there are far too many laborers today who work in darkness to sow seeds of deception and a false Gospel.
The minister, as a soldier of valor for God, must guard against such false doctrine and leavenous poisons that are so prevalent in churches today.
Trinity Sunday: What an auspicious day for ordination into God’s ministry!
The Gospel for Trinity Sunday is found in that beautiful 3rd chapter of the Gosepl of St. John;
It speaks of a man named Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night.
Nicodemus was a powerful man – a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin (the only member to speak in defense of Jesus). (John 7:50)
Yet, he came by night. Some have suggested that he came at night as a matter of convenience of a busy man. Others have suggested that he was fearful of condemnation by the other members of the Sanhedrin. I believe the latter to be the case.
On each of the two separate occasion in which Nicodemus is subsequently mentioned, John reminds us that Nicodemus was the one who came to Jesus by night! Why would he mention this unless it attached a defining significance to the name of Nicodemus.
Though Nicodemus came to Jesus at first by night, he never again hid his love and faith for Christ.
In the end, he publicly exposed himself to the hatred of the Jews, and of Rome, by appearing with Joseph of Arimethea to claim the body of Christ at the court of the Roman Prelate, Pontius Pilate.
As ministers, our faith may have begun as that of a grain of mustard seed, but all seed (to be productive) must grow. And so, as ministers, we must grow with the pure Word of god that we preach.
I congratulate, and caution, the men who are called to the Holy Office of priest today. Your calling is the most joyful and glorious a man can take up if he remains faithful and devoted toi Christ and His lambs.
However, the words of the Apostle Peter are most apt as a warning, not only to the laity of God, but mostr directly, the ministers:
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:8-11)
In the Name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen