From The Priest’s Pen:
Some Notes from Bishop Brooks in a Letter to Observe Diocesan Vocations Week.
…………. “This day, indeed this week, brings into focus that as Clergy we are ‘under shepherds of the Good Shepherd. Like the Good Shepherd, we are called to care for those committed to our care, to help them to discern God’s voice and to heed that voice. We must pray earnestly for God’s grace to remain faithful to our calling.
But apart from this Sunday and this week, there are other occasions when the Church specifically invites the faithful to pray for the Clergy; for example, during the liturgy for the renewal of vows on Maundy Thursday. The congregation is admonished to ‘pray for your clergy and other ministers. Ask the Lord to bless them with the fullness of his love, to help them to be faithful ministers of Jesus Christ the High Priest, so that they will be able to lead you to Him, the foundation of your salvation..” Then there are Ember Days. These ae observed four times during the Church Year—the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after 13th December, Ash Wednesday, Pentecost and Holy Cross Day (14th September) respectively. We pray for vocations to the Sacred Ministry, (both Full-Time and Part Time) for those in training, locally and in our Theological Colleges, and all who are involved in ministry.
This week provides another opportunity for all of us, old and young, to reflect on God’s call in our lives. God’s call comes to us in several ways - through varied experiences, through other people , in worship, and in quiet moments. That call is always beckoning us to participate in what God is doing in the world.—to be witnesses of God’s saving work in Christ, to bring hope to the hopeless—in short, to make a difference in our communities. Believe it or not, in spite of our short comings, God is depending on each of us , not just the ordained, but each member to get involved in the work of restoring the whole creation. St. Augustine of Hippo puts it beautifully: “Without God we cannot, without us God will not”.
We thank God for those who have responded, in a positive way to his call. I take this opportunity to remind our membership that ministry must not be restricted to the ordained only. Ministry is for every member. Indeed the concept of TOTAL MINISTRY which connotes that everyone has a ministry to offer, must be emphasized and acted upon. The Church provides a host of ministries for us: Choir, Altar Serving, Ushering, Greeting, Lay Reading, the Reading of Lessons and Leading Intercessions, Stewardship Visitation, Bereavement Counselling, Teaching in Sunday School, Ministry in Youth Groups, Altar Guild, Floral Arranging, Church Cleaning, Custodian, Maintenance of Grounds, just to name a few. Yes, there is something for all of us to do as we seek to glorify God in our generation and time. Here I am mindful of that passage in Ephesians 4:11-12: “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and some teachers, to equip the
saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ. Let us show our gratitude to God by accepting his call and sharing in his Ministry. Let us pray for all Christians in their vocation and ministry:
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before you for all members of your holy church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (BCP 201)”
With all good wishes and prayers Archdeacon Emeritus