To say I am beyond words is an understatement. I think it is actually unfair. Unfair that you have had to wait 40 years to receive the recognition you deserve. I think it is unfair that I received your blessing long before you received mine. I think it is unfair, with all that we have been through together, this little journey of faith we share, that you now can be called Rev just at the point when you are ready to move into retired ministry.
I know it is unfair because I know that this is not the way it should be. I can remember the mornings on Sundays when you knew it was time to get up for church because you heard me get in the shower to go with you. I remember coming forward in church one Sunday, with Pastor Payton preaching on a call to ministry, and I kneeled with many others sensing that call and felt a hand on my back. It was yours. I can remember the times of hilarity we had in doing skits and puppetry for the church, singing the songs, trying to help mold the hearts and minds of the listeners by the power of the Spirit, that they might know our joy in Jesus.
I can remember the tenderness you always had with me when I failed you. When I sinned against you or those you love. When I had to come to you and ask for forgiveness. This, more than all other things, is part of what has formed me into this pastor I am today. The fact that as a parent, I put you through so much, and yet the grace of Christ was your theme, that has made me the dad I am today.
I will always remember the day that I called you to let you know about the difficulties I had with my internship. Weeping on the phone to you about my feelings of failure and being alone. You prayed for me. You listened to me. You supported me and knew that God was with me and was molding me for his work.
I will remember that hand again as you prayed for me at my ordination in which I knew that I was carrying on for you the work you began before I was born. That somehow, in some way, by the grace of the Almighty, I think we both are the results of the prayers of Grandma and Grandpa. I have wondered lately what they would think of me. Of us. Their boys doing what was so much, I think, the call they knew existed in us before we did. If in some way we make them proud, I know that I am proud to call you my dad.
Now I sit here in Nevis. Finished with my services for the day. Knowing that I have a dad who is a brother in Christ and colleague in ministry. Who prays for me and listens when I need it. Who continues to serve with me in this Kingdom work, bringing the Gospel to the world.
I rejoice with you Dad. I rejoice that this portion of you has been completed. That God is glorified now through the work and commitment you have had to this work, because he is the One working within you for this ministry. In the words of the prayer for one of our Ordination services: Most Merciful God, our heavenly Father, who through thy beloved Son hast bid us pray for an increase of those who labor in the Gospel: We earnestly beseech thee to bestow thy Holy Spirit upon these thy servants, upon us, and upon all who are called to the Ministry of the Word and the Sacraments. Make us to be numbered in the company of the true evangelists, and to continue faithful and steadfast against the world, the flesh, and the devil, that in all our words and deeds we may seek thy glory and the increase of thy Kingdom; through thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
A Proud Son,