A unique ordination

Unexpectedly, there was crying at this ordination. And it was a good thing.

By Bruce Day

My wife and I recently visited a church that happened to be celebrating deacon installation and ordination. Three deacons had been elected by the church to serve the next term. Though it appeared to be business as usual for this congregation, there was a surprising uniqueness to this service for me. All three deacons were women!

In my Baptist life I have occasionally seen women elected to serve as deacon. However, this was the first time I had seen a class of deacons made up completely of women. Yet this congregation, through prayer and led by the Spirit, had simply elected the three persons most qualified to serve the upcoming term. They just happened to be women, one who was previously ordained and two who would be ordained that day.

The ordination, though otherwise similar to those I had previously experienced, took an unusual turn. During the “laying on of hands” the candidates began to cry. I must confess my first thought was of the scene from A League of Their Own, in which Tom Hanks says, “Crying! There’s no crying in baseball!” I thought, “There’s no crying in ordination!”

I don’t know why women tend to cry more freely than men. Perhaps it is because they are not afraid of revealing their emotions. And why, I asked myself, should there not be crying in ordination. To be set aside by God, and your brothers and sisters, to serve the church is an experience fraught with emotion. Men tend to hide it. Women tend to let it out. Bravo!

I have no doubt this ability to share one’s emotions will serve them well. After all, as the pastor reminded us, they were not being elected to sit on a decision-making board. They were being called to serve the Body of Christ and to do so specifically through a deacon/family ministry plan. What better way to connect with the families to whom they are assigned than to “laugh with those who laugh and weep with those who weep?”

And so, on this morning the deacons cried. So did many congregants. And the “laying on hands” turned into hugs, affectionate pats and, I believe, a few holy kisses.

So, there is crying in ordination. How wonderfully refreshing.

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