My twenty-one year Ordination Anniversary was Thursday, July 11th. It’s a special day to me as I reflect every year on the experiences I’ve had in ministry, grateful for God’s call. The worship service including the Rite of Ordination was held on a very hot afternoon in the sanctuary of First United Church of Christ, Sandusky, Ohio, where I had grown up. Because there was no air-conditioning, I remember there were many fans blowing like mad!
It was a glorious service with beautiful flower arrangements, music from two church choirs, trumpet fanfare, piano and organ duets, a violin solo, liturgical dancers, Holy Communion, many ministers, friends and congregants from my home church and from the church I’d been serving as Student Pastor for the past three years. The presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable!
The focus scripture preached that day was from the Gospel of Mark, The Parable of the Sower. In it Jesus is teaching, “‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil, withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.’ And he said, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’”
During the sermon the preacher flung grass seed into the congregation as a very tactile illustration of the seeds sowed by the sower. It was quite a surprise to those of us sitting there! Since I was in the first row I remember that some seeds actually went down the front of my dress and stuck to me. As I recall the sticky feel of those seeds on my skin, I think about the challenge and promise of Jesus’ words.
As Christians, whether ordained or lay, our job is to actively spread the word of God’s love in our own words and actions; we cannot know where they will take root and thrive. We are only called to do our part as best we can. I urge you to be lavish with your own sowing, for there is much need in the world. The promise is that God will do God’s part, which is more than we can imagine!
In Christ’s Love!
Pastor Candy Thomas
Christ Congregational United Church of Christ