On Friday November 2, I was inducted as Coordinator of Ministry Studies at Pilgrim Theological College in the University of Divinity, pictured here with esteemed colleague Dr. Robyn Whitaker.
The service also farewelled a gang of exiting students now going out to serve the world as Deacons and Ministers of the Word with Uniting Church congregations and agencies.
Come, Holy Spirit, to your beloved Alister, Carlynne, Deb, Heather, Joedy and Trang:
empower their ministry at the waters, with the stories, around the table;
lift up their voice in the public square, in the church’s worship, and in the long discipline of their own secret prayer;
be near to them in the empty desert, through the songs in the night, with their thorns in the flesh;
and make their feet dance, faces shine, and hearts beat at the sound of your gospel.
Be an ark, and a rainbow, and a dove;
be a sovereign, and a palace, and a crown;
be a mother, and a treasure, and a tree;
be the way, and the truth, and the life
to them, and to us, and to all your people—
you, holy God, holy One, holy Three…
Because through semester we had been using Gail Ramshaw’s marvellous eucharistic prayer Triple Praise (find it in her Pray, Praise, and Give Thanks, in the United Church of Canada’s Celebrate God’s Presence, in the new Presbyterian Church of the USA’s Book of Common Worship and in my own Liturgy: SCM Studyguide), this prayer used triplets in the way she does in Triple Praise, relating these to the central things of word and sacrament, different arenas of ministry, struggle—Matthew 3, Job 35, 2 Corinthians 12—and joy—hagiography of St. Francis' dancing when preaching, Psalm 34— drawing on images of creation and divine majesty, and from Jesus’ teaching and Johannine self-identification.