Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money – not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.Luke 9:1-6
In the Church’s calendar today is designated as an Ember Day, a day on which we pray for all who are called into God’s service, both lay and ordained. Ember Days do not fall on set dates in the year, but are generally designated at times when ordinations to the diaconate and the priesthood are likely to occur.
In our own benefice we are blessed with the opportunity to pray for and to support Revd Aron, who will soon be ordained as a priest, thus making this Ember Day very important in all our lives.
Entering the priesthood comes at the cusp of the Christian life. Before ordination there will have been a long journey of discernment followed by ordination into the diaconate. Then each deacon will journey through a period of service and formation in preparation for the moment of ordination as a priest. And then, it feels as though a whole new journey has begun. The new priest will feel a sense of arrival, but also a sense of departure – departure into the unknown.
Today’s reading offers us a picture of the life that lies ahead of everyone who hears and follows God’s call. We are called to trust in God’s call and to proclaim his love and power to everyone we meet. That trust in God should be absolute. We should not make plans for how we are to be active Christians. Such plans are nothing less than an attempt to put constraints on God’s will. God knows what we are capable of doing in his name, even if we don’t. God knows our hidden talents and skills, we just have to trust that he knows better than us.
As we pray for Revd Aron at this time, let us also pray for ourselves and others in order that we might all be wise enough to hear God’s call and brave enough to follow that call, no matter where it may lead us.