On this day in 1981, I experienced a defining moment at the Washington National Cathedral. I was ordained as a transitional Deacon (a necessary step before being ordained a priest) in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.
As many of you know who read this blog, I was privileged to grow up in a family where a vocation to the ordained ministry was modeled by my father, and later by my twin brother Rob.
Brother Geoffery Tristram of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, has described those who share this vocation as “stewards of God’s mysteries,” based on a quote from St. Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, where Paul goes on to say, “It is required of stewards to be found trustworthy.”
At a retreat I attended with Brother Geoffrey several years ago, he offered these good words:
For St. Paul, in some ways the product, if you can call it that, is the mystery of God, and the criterion for successful leadership is not performance but being found trustworthy or faithful. It’s not easy, and it is not correct to apply the criteria of secular leadership to what it is we have been called to. For if the product is God’s mysteries, and if the criterion of good performance is not successful sales or profit, but being found trustworthy or faithful, what does that mean? It means we cannot sell God’s mysteries, but we can teach them as merciful revelation, we can celebrate them in the liturgy, we can invoke them as healing and pardon, and we can live them as the deepest meaning of our lives.
Being a “steward of God’s mysteries,” has been a remarkable privilege. I’m astonished by how quickly the time has passed. So many wonderful friends, colleagues, and the untiring support of my wife Debbie, have made the journey rich and worthwhile.
I promise to go on.