I ditched the first draft of Bible readings for my upcoming ordination after they were met with luke-warm responses . . . and truth be told, I wasn't in love with them as ordination texts. But I've had a hard time choosing my ordination texts, recognizing that this isn't an occasion to simply choose my favorite bible texts (as if it were a great hits or a mix tape of sentimental favorites). Indeed, some of my favorite texts – Romans 8, Luke 1, the stories in the Elijah cycle – are wonderful, but don't quite speak to unique setting of an ordination.
So I took another stab at it, and leaned on an old rule I try hard not to forget (but which I had forgotten in this case) – trust the tradition. Our liturgical tradition has handed down to us a variety of texts that are customarily used for the ocassion of an ordination. Why try to re-invent the wheel? I read through each of the suggested texts – about ten texts are suggested for each reading – and pretty easily selected readings for the first three readings:
But still, none of the suggested Gospel texts spoke to me. So I tried to think of stories from the Gospels that speak to the tasks of ministry but which wouldn't unduly elevate the ordinand. I landed on Mark 9:33-41, which contains two quick anecdotes about ministry –
- first, Mark's version of the "let the children come to me" text where Jesus embraces and identifies himself with a child (ie, the low, weak, marginalized, unaccomplished);
- second, the story in which Jesus' disciples trying to stop someone else – who was not "one of them" – from casting out demons in Jesus' name. Jesus rebukes the disciples, telling them that "whoever is not against us is for us." I figure that it is good to begin ministry by being reminded to whom it is we're called to minister, and that no one person or group of people has a monopoly on the ministry.
Click here for all the texts. Thanks!