Ordination Sermon – Perth 28 October 2007

Christine. Just over 10 year’s ago, I sat where you are sitting, waiting to make my own response to the same questions which in a few moment’s time will be put to you.

As I think back to that time, I remember an incident which happened to me in my training before I was ordained. It took place in New College in Edinburgh where I was pretending to study theology.

There in a seminar, someone asked me what I was going to do after completing my studies. I said, rather casually that I would be entering the ordained ministry. I was going to be a priest, but first of all I would be a deacon.

All of a sudden, there was a tremendous outburst from someone else at the table. He went a hideous puce colour and started to rant and rave. He was obviously very cross and angry indeed. Truly, he was so bad tempered and angry and rude that I almost mistook him for an Episcopalian. Though in truth, I knew that he came from a Presbyterian background.

Well, I say that, but he was a Presbyterian without a presbytery. He had left all the moderate denominations that would have him. He had been thrown out of all the fiery ones that he thought might be close to the truth.
Anyway, on this day, he picked up his bible, which was indeed black and leather-bound. And, bless him, as he raved, he started to thump it against his hand.

I remember little of what he said, though I do remember the question that came at the end of the raving. He said, “The true church of God believes in the priesthood of all believers. How can you talk of being a priest? Don’t you believe in the priesthood of all believers in your faith?”

I sat, open mouthed. And I had no answer for him then.

Ten years down the line, I do have an answer. It has taken me that long to work it out, but you are going to get it tonight.

For my answer to that question is this sermon tonight.

And, I can sum it up in one sentence with three points. (Christine, watch and learn!) [Read more…]