Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Ordinal (CW)

This is the text of the ordinal according to Common Worship. Fruitful for my consideration at this moment in time.
Bishop: Priests are called to be servants and shepherds among the people to whom they are sent. With their Bishop and fellow ministers, they are to proclaim the word of the Lord and to watch for the signs of God’s new creation. They are to be messengers, watchmen and stewards of the Lord; they are to teach and to admonish, to feed and provide for his family, to search for his children in the wilderness of this world’s temptations, and to guide them through its confusions, that they may be saved through Christ for ever. Formed by the word, they are to call their hearers to repentance and to declare in Christ's name the absolution and forgiveness of their sins.

With all God’s people, they are to tell the story of God’s love. They are to baptize new disciples in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and to walk with them in the way of Christ, nurturing them in the faith. They are to unfold the Scriptures, to preach the word in season and out of season, and to declare the mighty acts of God. They are to preside at the Lord's table and lead his people in worship, offering with them a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. They are to bless the people in God’s name. They are to resist evil, support the weak, defend the poor, and intercede for all in need. They are to minister to the sick and prepare the dying for their death. Guided by the Spirit, they are to discern and foster the gifts of all God’s people, that the whole Church may be built up in unity and faith.

The bishop addresses the ordinands directly

We trust that long ago you began to weigh and ponder all this, and that you are fully determined, by the grace of God, to devote yourself wholly to his service, so that as you daily follow the rule and teaching of our Lord and grow into his likeness, God may sanctify the lives of all with whom you have to do.

And now, in order that we may know your mind and purpose, you must make the declarations we put to you.

Do you accept the Holy Scriptures as revealing all things necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ?
Ordinands: I do so accept them.

Will you be diligent in prayer, in reading Holy Scripture, and in all studies that will deepen your faith and fit you to bear witness to the truth of the gospel?
Ordinands: By the help of God, I will.

Will you lead Christ’s people in proclaiming his glorious gospel, so that the good news of salvation may be heard in every place?
Ordinands: By the help of God, I will.

Will you faithfully minister the doctrine and sacraments of Christ as the Church of England has received them, so that the people committed to your charge may be defended against error and flourish in the faith?
Ordinands: By the help of God, I will.

Will you, knowing yourself to be reconciled to God in Christ, strive to be an instrument of God’s peace in the Church and in the world?
Ordinands: By the help of God, I will.

Will you endeavour to fashion your own life and that of your household according to the way of Christ, that you may be a pattern and example to Christ’s people?
Ordinands: By the help of God, I will.

Will you work with your fellow servants in the gospel for the sake of the kingdom of God?
Ordinands: By the help of God, I will.

Will you accept and minister the discipline of this Church, and respect authority duly exercised within it?
Ordinands: By the help of God, I will.

Will you then, in the strength of the Holy Spirit, continually stir up the gift of God that is in you, to make Christ known among all whom you serve?
Ordinands: By the help of God, I will.

The congregation stands and the ordinands turn and face them.

Brothers and sisters, you have heard how great is the charge that these ordinands are ready to undertake, and you have heard their declarations. Is it now your will that they should be ordained?
All: It is.

Will you continually pray for them?
All: We will.

Will you uphold and encourage them in their ministry?
All: We will.

The ordinands turn back to face the bishop, who continues, addressing them

In the name of our Lord we bid you remember the greatness of the trust that is now to be committed to your charge. Remember always with thanksgiving that the treasure now to be entrusted to you is Christ’s own flock, bought by the shedding of his blood on the cross. It is to him that you will render account for your stewardship of his people.

You cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength, but only by the grace and power of God. Pray therefore that your heart may daily be enlarged and your understanding of the Scriptures enlightened.

Pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit.


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