Summary: The gifts that God places in each one of are particularly suited to the ministry in which we find ourselves.
Ordination Sermon for Chad Moir 21 April 2002
Mark 4:1-9 / 1Timothy 4:14-16
Rev. Roger Haugen
“Listen, a sower went out to sow.” “Listen, today we send a sower out to sow”. Who is the Chad that you know? Help me out – I have my list but it may not include the Chad that you know. I first knew Chad as the intern who was to come from Seminary to be with us in North Battleford for the year. Here was one called by God to ministry and willing to test that call in a parish and discern how he would live out his call with the gifts that he was given.
I soon discovered he had a passion for languages and study. Who but a person passionate about languages would get up early to study his Hebrew before breakfast?
I got to know Chad as a gifted musician, always ready to find new ways of expressing himself. It was in North Battleford that he first sang in a classical choir. I saw him taking lessons on a violin simply because he had one and wanted to learn. I have listened to his Rock CD’s and have heard of his various bands and exploits.
I came to know of his passion for old cars and watched him restore his beloved 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury as well as work on numerous other cars with his skill as an autobody man.
I know Chad as a fine preacher who demonstrated wisdom far beyond his years as he preached the Gospel to us in his own personable way. I know Chad as a person and a friend who is so approachable and kind.
Some of you know Chad as a farmer. One aware of the soil and what is required to make a crop grow and flourish. One who has the patience and gentleness to raise white tail deer.
Chad is a person uncommonly gifted by God. Did I miss any? Probably -- and there will be more gifts to discover as he steps out into parish ministry. The words of Paul to Timothy are good words for you, Chad, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you.” God has given you gifts for ministry and it is your task to explore these gifts, the passion that comes with each of your gifts and use them for ministry wherever you find yourself.
Our other text speaks to the farmer in Chad. “A sower went out to sow.” A farmer knows the importance of knowing the soil in which he seeks to plant. The soil of the future where you are going to sow, Chad, is one that is much different than the soil of the past. It is soil with large patches of pluralism with many different sorts of people with many different cultural values that need to be understood and respected if a seed of Gospel is to sprout and grow. There will be ‘postmodern soil’ that is confusing to many of us – a soil that thrives on ambiguity and paradox -- soil that thinks differently than some of us do. You will be sowing into depleted soil, soil that has been depleted by migration of young people from rural areas and by familiarity with the Gospel that has robbed many of the passion for the Gospel.
As any farmer knows, you need to keep your methods and implements current. The plow was replaced by the discer, that gave way to the press drill and now we have the air seeder and who knows what is next? A wheat seed looks much the same but the delivery is far different. The church is no different. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is still the same, the delivery changes. New conditions need new approaches.
Paul’s words to Timothy are words I would set before you today, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you.” Remember the farmer – the gentleness and calm required to build trust among deer will make you an unthreatening presence in so many situations. We live in a world of people so easily terrified, by war, disease and terror. In a skeptic and fearful world, people need one who will walk amongst them with reassuring words and presence. You carry with you the Living Word, one who lived among us, lives among us still to bring us peace.
Remember the languages, which help you to understand how the words we use shape our reality. Use the passion for words to make the Gospel relevant and immediate to the world in which people live. Make the word a living word, live the word. Preach the word with clarity so that people are able to recognize the unmistakable movement of God in their lives.
Remember your gift of music. It will take you places that would not be otherwise open to you as a messenger of the Gospel. It will also help you make worship alive and vibrant, helping people to praise God in ways that are meaningful to them. We need new musical expression for our worship that will open the worship of God to a new postmodern, pluralistic world.