It was a quite a moving day for me. I’ve been serving as the Minister of Peace and Justice at Joy since I think September 2007, but we actually had the installation ceremony today for myself and our new pastor. (our congregation also called Moses & Sadie, our recently retired pastors to be our new “Ministers of Mission”)
Our Associate Conference Minister came out to perform the installation, but the surprise came when members of our congregation gave Norman and myself stoles to wear (and had Moses wear the stole he was given at his retirement party a few months back). Norman’s stole was purple which was said to represent pentiance and leadership, while mine was green which was said to represent growth. — It was really touching. Mennonite ministers generally do not wear stoles or ministerial vestaments, but I did some reading on Wikipedia about the history of the stole and here’s what it says…
More popular is the theory that the stole originated from a kind of liturgical napkin called an orarium (cf. orarion) very similar to the sudarium. In fact, in many places the stole is called the orarium. Therefore it is linked to the napkin used by Christ in washing the feet of his disciples, and is a fitting symbol of the yoke of Christ, the yoke of service.
I like that, and it is a good fit for the kind of ministry that our church has called me to do (for me it’s largely working with GI’s who need help to get discharged).
There’s a lot on my mind right now, I think the biggie being how much is my work done in faith and how much of it is just my own striving. There’s no doubt that God calls us to work hard in our vocations, but being a minister is also about knowing that we can not do it all on our own and that we need that connection with the divine to power us and to guide us. Right now I feel like too often I don’t seek out and nurture that connection. I really want that to change.
I guess more than anything I feel encouraged by the congregation’s trust in me, but I also I feel the weight of knowing what they have called me to. Strangely enough, my calling is to minister to the military, not as a chaplain baptizing the evils of war and calling it good, but rather as a counselor (both in matters spiritual and legal). I definitely will be praying that I can live up to this calling.