Coming to Pass: Bishop Leeland’s Message to our Ordained and Commissioned
By Jesse N. Love
On Saturday, Bishop Paul Leeland, resident bishop of the Alabama-West Florida Episcopal Area presented a special message to those to be Ordained and Commissioned in our Conference.
ADDRESSING THE ORDINANDS
- He congratulated those being ordained and commission as it marks what it means to follow Jesus Christ. It is a difficult task with many ups and downs. Ordination itself can be distracting and disappointing as much as it is fulfilling.
- He commented that the Church has a lot of criticism more than affirmation – and asked who can live under that criticism for so long?
GETTING PERSONAL (AND HUMBLE)
- Leeland reminisced about how he thought his Bishop would actually call for an appointment – then he can have a house and live. When he drove into the countryside of North Carolina, he and his partner finally reached the parsonage: it was a silver trailer with a screen door. When he entered, he walked into the sink. He then looked at wife and said, “Isn’t this great? We can get married!”
- Today, he hopes to not lose that excitement: “Lord just let me serve! Lord never let me forget what that feeling is like!”
- He also shared that serving the church isn’t all good feelings. Pastors are to be the presence of Christ – it’s a calling to “bend down, bend low”. We are to respond to personal calamities, national and international problems, and offensive news. “ The congregation will look to you to be the lead religious person.”
WHAT IS NEEDED
- “You need to be relevant, popular, and powerful,” as clergy, ds, etc.
- “If you don’t have conscience, humility, then you will feel you should be given more, given first in line, given a parking space.”
- “Mom taught him and his sisters, lay down and let go and let God. Give thanks, but for things you are embarrassed of, let go.”
- “Lord, keep me from being seduced by power, position, influence and title.” It is so easy to be pulled into the affirmation of who we are. Our ministry is about bending down low. This ordination marks a significant moment in your life and in the church life – there is a new you and a new path to be prepared for you.
- Think about what God wants you to be. Practice gentleness and self control. What God wants you to do will fall into place. This is an outward and spiritual grace – the call upon your life, to lead the people in service.
IT IS A SIGN
- It is a sign. God had knit you together in your mother’s womb. It is a sign. This ordination is a sign passing from hatred to love; we’re more patient than we were a month ago. It is a progression and a movement toward Christ.
WHO WE FOLLOW
- We follow one who was stripped of material positions, girded himself with a towel, and washed the feet of his disciples. We follow the one who is stripped of his grave clothes. We want to be stripped of our pride, pretense, pettiness, desire to be relevant, and we want to be clothed in Christ. It is no longer I, but Christ who is in me.
- I pray you will not climb a ladder of success…but of character, sincerity, and fruit of the spirit.
- Your Role Model: follow your bishop. He exemplifies personal humility and professional capability.
- Your ministry is to be fruitful. “I’m faithful, but it’s fruitfulness that God is looking for.”
- We are now surrounded by witnesses: this is about servant leadership.
- After the resurrection, peter is so embarrassed that he did what said he wouldn’t do.
LORD, I LOVE YOU
- The resurrected Christ asked Peter “Do you love me?” Response “Lord, you know that I love you.”
- Let us give thanks tonight for our calling, setting ourselves out for pastoring our people.
- For the honor of being witness to marriage.
- Leeland expressed gratitude professing us for being the example of the Lord.
- “You are now not part of this world…you are a part of the kingdom of God.”
- Itinerancy isn’t about moving. It’s about service to the church. It’s a covenant. It’s not made for everybody. We are saying we are willing to put away our personal desires. Even if it is a silver, airstream travel trailer.
Jesse N. Love serves as the Graphic Designer and Print Manager for the PNWUMC.