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  • The Rev. Charles Smith

Let’s get you ordained


I want to share with you about two miracles that turn into ordinations right on the spot. In my tradition, the Episcopal Church, ordination has quite a lot of fuss made around it with a long and expensive process, think tens of thousands of dollars, by the time someone is ordained a priest. It all seems rather formal and fancy. The process generally works and people get ordained and formed to be deacons and priests. But I think we sometimes miss out on people that are called to healing by Jesus and ordination. I want to tell you the story of two such incredible, if irregular, ordinations.

The first ordination story I want to share with you comes from the Bible and is probably the very first ordination into Christian Ministry. There is this woman, mother-in- law to the guy we know as St. Simon. I wish I could share her name with you but we don't know it. At any rate, this is how she gets ordained.

Jesus and his friends show up at her house and she is in bed sick. Jesus reaches out and raises her up out of her sick bed. She gets up and starts to serve Jesus. That is it. That is how she gets ordained.

Some of you are saying that doesn't count as an ordination because Jesus just heals her and she gets up and starts serving him. There is no years long process, no bishop in a fancy hat, no formal training (do we even know if she is the right sort of person), no psychological testing, and she does not even put on a a highly stylized plastic collar or fancy robes, and does not run around in public with a stole or any other sign of her office or authority. She is just serving Jesus. That sure does not look like lot of the clergy and professional Christians I have met.

That is all true. She does not look a whole lot like a professional clergy person because she is not trying to look like anyone or anything special she is just serving Jesus. She is too busy doing the work of preaching, teaching, healing, and making disciples to make a fuss about institution building. She is simply putting her faith into action

If I am honest, the story from Mark’s gospel account does not even really look like an ordination at all. She meets Jesus. Jesus heals her. She starts serving Jesus. If more clergy started doing this more often the modern church and world might just look like a really different place. If more Christians started doing this more often the modern church and world would look like a really different place.

The biblical text is subtle here and it is easy to miss what is going on. The word for" service" or "serving" is diakoneo and it is the same is used both in the bible to describe the ordained order of deacons and this woman. The heart of ministry ordained or not is being healed by Jesus and serving him while empowering others to meet Jesus and serve him. It is this reason that all priests and bishops are first ordained as deacons. This un-named woman becomes the first deacon because she receives Jesus healing touch and responds in the most natural was possible by serving him.

She may not have gotten a plastic collar or fancy robes, or a title but she met Jesus and became a diakoneo because she could not help but serve Jesus.

The second ordination I want to tell you about is not in the bible but takes place in Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia, SC. This ordination is a lot like the other one but is way more scandalous.

There is a man, Steven, who is a convicted murderer, robber and arsonist. He became a satanist in prison and was so violent that several states paid other states to incarcerate him on their behalf because maximum security prisons could not handle Steven. Eventually he landed in Broad River here in good old South Carolina where I met him and learned his story.

Steven was the Wicca/satanist volunteer chaplain at Broad River. Stay with me—I told you this ordination was more scandalous. He would go into the chapel building stuff for Wicca/satanist worship. One day chaplain invited Steven into the Christian worship space but he wouldn't go in. For some reason he couldn’t make himself go in.

Steven was healed by Jesus and then Steven did the only thing he knew how to do and started serving Jesus. Steven, like the unnamed mother-in-law of St. Simon became a deacon.

What about you? Have you met Jesus yet? Has he healed you?

If you have not met Jesus yet or are still waiting for that healing set up a time to visit with me and let’s pray and talk about what needs to happen for you to receive that healing. Jesus healed me from limb girdle muscular dystrophy so I know he can and will heal you too. Connect with me and let’s start that process of getting you and Jesus acquainted with one another.

If you have met Jesus and he has healed you like me, like St. Simon’s mother-in-law, and like Steven are you serving like a deacon yet? Do you have a ministry preaching, teaching, healing, and making disciples? If not why not? What is keeping you from the most natural thing possible after meeting Jesus and being healed by him?

Connect with me and let’s pray and talk about what needs to happen for you to start serving Jesus. It will make all the difference in your life.

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