Summary: A sermon for the 6th Sunday of Pentecost, proper 9 Series C.
6th Sunday after Pentecost [Pr. 9] July 4, 2010 “Series C”
Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, you sent your Son among us to reveal your grace, to proclaim your forgiveness, and to assure us that through our baptism and faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, we, too, might have eternal life in your heavenly kingdom. But through our baptism, Jesus also calls us to serve as messengers and ambassadors of your kingdom. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, strengthen us for service and empower us for witness, that we might continue the ministry of revealing your redeeming grace to others. This we ask in Christ’s holy name. Amen.
During one of the classes that I taught at confirmation camp, I made reference to the fact that Jim Judy, who had been teaching with our camp for several years, was now Pastor Judy. This past December, Jim had completed his studies, received a call to continue serving as pastor the congregation he had been serving as an appointed lay leader, and was ordained. One of the students then asked, “What does ordained mean?”
I then responded to the class that as a result of our baptism, everyone is a member of Christ’s Church. As we progress through our confirmation instruction, we are learning what it means to be a member of the Church, and to begin to assume adult responsibility for our faith. Our baptism does not just assure us that God forgives our sins, and promises us life eternal in his heavenly kingdom. Through our baptism, we are also called to become ministers for Christ, to serve our Lord through various ways that enable his ministry to carry on from generation to generation.
That is why, in our enrichment year at camp, after our students have been confirmed, they spend several hours doing a service project to help further the ministry of the camp. They are encouraged and given the opportunity to exercise their ministry as an adult member of the church. In this regard, every member of a congregation of Christ’s church is a minister. Some congregations even state that fact in their bulletins when they list their staff, where they include the word “Ministers,” after which they state, “The members of St. John’s,” for example.
But then I added that some persons are called by the church to do a very specific ministry. After many years in college and seminary studying the Bible and Theology, and receive a call for a congregation to be their pastor, they are ordained. The bishop and others lay their hands on that person and confirm that their ministry is preach the Gospel, teach God’s Word, and administer the sacraments of baptism and communion. In other words, when a person is ordained, they are given the responsibility of helping the other members of the congregation do their ministry. My answer seemed to suffice.
According to our Gospel lesson for this morning, the number of persons who came to follow Jesus as his disciples seems to have grown to far more than the twelve that he had invited to follow him at the beginning of his ministry. In fact, he commissions 70 or 72 of his disciples to go out and prepare those in the towns and villages that he was about to enter, that the kingdom of God was coming near to them. According to the commentaries that I read, this number may have well included men and women disciples of Jesus, but not the original twelve.