Friday, June 12, 2009


I'm sitting in my office this noon hour with a storm raging about me. Not a figurative storm, but a literal storm. The tornado sirens sounded about 10 minutes ago, ran for five minutes then quit. The Weather Service has issued a tornado warning. A funnel cloud--no, perhaps two funnel clouds were spotted within striking distance of us. One NE of Gentry and one SE of Gravette. That's probably the same storm. A rumor has it that one is also near Cave Springs, about 6 miles south of us. The wind is fierce, sky dark, rain heavy, lightning and thunder in close communication, and all who are in the office worried. Traffic has supposedly stopped on the state highway a mile and a half south of us.

I just went on walkabout throughout the building, and although radar says we are now in the worst of it, the sky has lightened. We'll see.

Last week we attended the ordination service of the Southwest Oklahoma District of our denomination. This is, I think, the fourth ordination service I attended but the first one where I went for a purpose other than as a delegate. Our son-in-law, Richard L. Schneberger, was ordained. The way we do it is a minister is licensed once he or she has passed a course of study and been examined by a District Credentials board. This makes him/her legal with the State, and able to perform marriages. For ordination, we require a minimum of 2 years of active pastoral ministry or 4 years as a minister on staff--plus another examination by the credentials board.

Richard made it. He has been pastor of the church for the last year [there goes the tornado siren again], was a fill-in pastor for several months a couple of years ago, and was in staff ministries a couple of years. It all added up to enough; the Credentials dudes thought he was qualified; and he was ordained.

The ceremony was not solemn by any means, but it was reverent and exciting at the same time. We, like most Protestant churches, do not consider ordination a sacrament, but perhaps we should. What is more sacred, or a more outward sign of an inner grace, than for the bishop (a.k.a. General Superintendent) to lay his hands on the new minister and read the minister's charge from the writings of Paul, then for a mentor to pray the prayer of ordination/dedication. To tell the ordinands to preach the word, minister to the sick and needy, administer the sacraments, and change the world. Truly this was an inspirational moment.

So go out there Rev. Richard and change the world. I am here in an inner room amid a fearsome storm, but you will be outside in an unstoppable storm that is leading to our Lord's coming again. Things are not going to get better, only worse. The difficulties under which you will work are enough to crush someone who is not truly called of God for that purpose. Find your own inner place to pray and be strengthened. Heed the advice of the scripture and those who are senior to you in the ministry. As an ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene, help us laymen to dedicate our lives to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The tornado warning in our area expires in one minute. The worst has passed us by. For you the storm continues. May God bring you, Sara, and Ephraim safely through the storm of ministry.


Gary said...

An even better milestone, this one is - even if only as a specially-interested observer. I've been to two ordinations; both candidates are missionaries, one in Japan and one on US college campuses. I don't know if these ceremonies qualify as sacraments but they are sacred... and stirring. Nice metaphor usage of your synchronous tornado warning signal, btw.

David A. Todd said...

Thanks, Gary. Yes, a true milestone.

Metaphor is my weakness as I write poetry. I keep trying, and sometimes come up with a good one, but most of the time I get stuck.