I’m an old-fashioned kind of Christian. Don’t get me wrong, I like to stand in a field and clap along to a worship song from time to time but my faithful heart is steeped in the churches, monasteries, and islands of old Northumberland. So, it really was a delight to be invited along to Jackie’s ordination in St Mary’s Cathedral on 3rd September. Besides being a splendid building there is no better stage to be held in the heart of a congregation to celebrate the ordination of Jackie.
After the usual chaos of the vestry changing area – lay ministers, deacons and priests jockeying for space to throw on robes while the choir, who’s space this usually is, quietly apologise and squeeze though gaps to find their own – we are settled for the incumbents welcome and prayers. This is the part of the duck that few see, but by the time we process into the cathedral our duck becomes a swan and we find our seats.
As a lay reader, a lowly position in these things, we enter at the head of the procession and in turn this means we get the ‘good’ seats – in the first pew. This meant that when Jackie followed in, Bobby and I had a prime view of everything that was to come.
The service, with it’s eucharist, went smoothly and the choir were in fantastic voice but the thing that stole the show was the smile on Jackie’s face, visible to all from the moment she stepped forward and took her place alongside the bishop. This smile lit up the cathedral and everyone I spoke to afterwards commented on it.
It really is a joyous thing to watch someone becoming who they are meant to be but when it’s presented in the glorious setting of St Marys with every single person in there focussed entirely on one person then it becomes a blessing in itself and one I will carry for a very long time to come.
I have had a tiny, but proud, role in Jackie’s journey so far with only the smallest of hints and tips as she studied through her placement with us, but I’m really excited to see just what that smile will achieve as she returns to us as our curate.
Jesus Christ, we pray for humility in leading the ministry you’ve called us to. You were humble, though you are the son of God. Let our hearts be free from pride and entitlement. Let us be faithful servants to your sheep and focus on the spiritual growth of the congregation. Give us the right words when ministering to them. May we serve you in everything we do and say. Amen.