by Jennifer Asp

I wasn’t planning on attending MinneRevive, but Molly Ruch wooed me with names of people I admire who were teaching… Molly is very effective in her woo. I was compelled to cancel all my plans and happily attend.

I loved every part of the day. (I started the morning by awkwardly gushing on our Cannon Theologian about my delight in listening to him on the Word and Table Podcast. If you are unaware of this podcast, start listening immediately, and then contact me so we can form a fan club.) But I want to start with the absolute highlight because it helped me understand the loveliness of everything preceding it and following it.

The highlight for me was witnessing the ordination service. I love Pete and Rick and felt excited for them, but did not anticipate my reaction in the service. I was weepy-joyful. I have been known to express emotions (!?), but crying for joy in a service is not my go-to emotional state.

Earlier in the day, Father Gauthier had given me the vocabulary to explain this joy: the ordinations of Pete, Rick and Chris were a sacrament – an outward, visible sign of an inward, spiritual grace. For them, this was the outward sign of years of calling and faith and service and hard work. But, it was bigger than that. It was the outward sign of God’s faithfulness in our church body. It was the outward sign that God has been at work in Josh Moon’s life as he studied, pastored, wrote and taught that morning on the prophets. It was the sign that God has been at work in our Bishop’s life and ministry as he exhorted the people of God to a full participation in the story of God and as he spoke healing to one person’s heart who had been hurt by the church. It was the outward sign of a man I don’t know, planting a church in another state and spreading the Kingdom of God. It is the outward sign of a new church plant here in Minneapolis and the faithful work of those who have prayed and longed for it. It was the outward sign of people who have experienced grief and heartache, but persist in belief and faithfulness to God. It is the outward sign of families who experience trials that hover over them like Hurricane Harvey did over Houston –refusing to move—yet who continue to show up. It is the outward sign of an older generation who has faithfully walked with God and continues to model what that looks like to a younger generation. It is the outward sign of the love and devotion of our pastor as he encouraged and warned Pete, Rick and Chris out of sincere vulnerability and wisdom.

In short, God is faithfully at work, and the ordination was a sacrament that testifies to His work growing and maturing the body of Christ. It is a joy to be a part of this body and a joy to witness the work of God in His people. I am so grateful Molly invited me to witness God’s faithfulness.