This past Tuesday, June 12, the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church approved 43 candidates (and graduates of Calvin Seminary) for ministry. 13 candidates traveled to Redeemer University College in Hamilton, Ontario, the site of this year’s Synod. 12 candidates also joined via webcast from the denominational headquarters in Grand Rapids. Delegates of Synod welcomed the candidates with a rousing, lengthy standing ovation and closed by surrounding the candidates and praying for them.
President Jul Medenblik’s Address to the Candidates
Brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, candidates for ministry in the Christian Reformed Church.
As I thought about this moment, I wondered how to describe it. I wondered what is this moment like? I was searching for a picture for this moment. This is not a graduation; no diplomas will be given. This moment is not like when you were 16 years old and you went to the motor vehicle division of your state or province and got you driver license.
What is this moment like? This is one of those doorway moments in life. At various times you have stood in the doorway, moving from here to there. You heard these words from a parent, grandparent or other person close to you: “Love You.” “Be Safe.” “Drive Carefully.”
The doorway moment was and is a moment of blessing. It was a moment of blessing on the journey.
Your ordination journey started in a place of love, support and encouragement. Now your ordination journey brings us to this moment of love, support and encouragement.
As you stand in the doorway, you will hear words of love, support and encouragement as we give thanks to God for you and your journey of faith.
As you stand in the doorway, I want you to be aware of three groups of people in particular.
The first group for you to see are those here with you or where you are viewing this via webcast. See the 47 classes of churches from across Canada and the United States. The church is represented here, for you. People, ordinary people whom God is using for His extraordinary purposes.
The second group to see is those not with you at this moment who have been with you at various stages on this journey. Maybe it is a spouse, a child, a parent, a special friend or a grandparent who you can see with the eyes of faith. Maybe some of you will be seeing––with the eyes of faith––a person who helped you know that Jesus loves you, who is now with Jesus. Maybe someone who helped start you on your journey, who is now part of the great cloud of witnesses.
The first group to see is those present before you. The second group is to see those not with you, but whom you see with the eyes of faith. And finally, the third group that I want you to see are those that God will bring into your life, for whom you have been blessed to be a blessing.
God desires to use you in the lives of others. He has gifted you, equipped you, and now he is the one who commissions you to seek the lost, comfort the afflicted, and prepare all God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
And in this doorway moment, hear what God said to Joshua at the doorway of the Promised Land: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you, wherever you go.”
God loves you. We love you. Now, love the Church. God be will be with you. And all God’s people say, “Amen.”