So I have been ordained for nearly three weeks now. Some have wondered why I haven’t written about this sooner. Well there is the rub. Ordination, while often seen as a destination along the journey to that point, is really just a beginning—the beginning of the work of ministry; the beginning of trying to keep up with God. I was trying to keep up with God before, yes, but truly the last three weeks have been a whirlwind seemingly stuck on fast forward, as it’s going to be a while before things re-approach “normal” speed. God seems to be running a marathon with me as of late! And that’s all okay with me!
God is not only difficult to define or describe, but God is beyond all our definitions and expectations! Just when you think you understand God, God shows God’s self in ways and what you can not understand. God is ineffable. This is part of what I tried to convey in my ordination paper when I termed God a Trickster. I’m so glad Rev. Jerry Lawritson mentioned that in the sermon at my ordination. Ever hear of the yoke of Jeremiah? But, I digress. Or perhaps not.
There are some things about being ordained that I did not expect, and some moments in being ordained that carried great meaning. I’ll speak to the latter. I have to say that one of the unexpected moments of my ordination that continues to carry great meaning was the laying on of hands. I am not going to go into the politics of ordination here, but suffice to say that after all the trials one goes through in “proving” they can meet the requirements of ordination and early ministry, for me—particularly as a disabled woman, reared in poverty, who has been made to feel “less than” most of her life—to hear the congregation say “Yes she is worthy, let us ordain her” and then to see local clergy immediately get up, hover over and encircle me was overwhelming! It was empowering. It was a confirmation that boosted my confidence. And at a certain level it was also a great relief for here I was exactly where I had known for so long I was meant to be AND the community and the clergy acknowledged it! Even if, at the same time, it seemed at some level that it was late in coming, it truly felt meaningful, a moment of awe for me. It was not the confirmation of my call—for what human acts, no matter the ritual history or intent, can confirm the call of God? But it felt as if God was jumping up and down, celebrating because the community “got” the call. It felt like an act of God. And I still feel the awe.
Ordination is worth struggling for. I understand this now in a much more profound way. In churches where women, GLBT, persons with disabilities are not eligible for ordination, ordination is worth struggling for because the call to ministry is not a call of the Church, but a call from and an act of God. For my friends who continue in the ordination process, to friends who have newly received their Masters of Divinity and seek to serve, to the Rev. Elvin Harrison who seeks privilege of call in the UCC tomorrow, to seminarians with disabilities who faithfully struggle to follow their call when the possibility of ordination still seems a hazy dream come to oppress them from a heavenly land let my ordination be an encouragement to you…yes, your ordination is worth struggling for, especially when it seems it might require an act of God! God is with you.