Get it in Writing


I got ordained a month ago.  That's not completely accurate, though.  This ordination came in the mail, from the Universal Life Church.  My first ordination came more than two decades ago, from the Unity-Progressive Council, after years of classroom time, field work, and a college degree in theology.  But that's not the whole story, either.  I felt ordained before that.  I've always known that I wanted to be a preacher.  I have a specific and personal experience of the calling that happened to me in my teenage years.  Then again, none of them are definitive in the way one might expect. Ordination is a sacrament, like marriage.  In a Unity ceremony, we're careful to say that we don't make the couple married.  That happens between them and God.  The ceremony is an outer recognition of an inner Truth, which is appropriate.  In a Unity christening, we remind folks that the baby starts out perfect.  We're not washing anything away or making the child different than they already are.  Instead, the ceremony is in part an admonition that the baby is a personification of love. We have the ritual to remember that we ought to treat him or her that way.

This is appropriate for all kinds of reasons.  For one thing, ordination is a continual process, like marriage. Show me a marriage where the participants stopped trying, and I'll show you one that needs help.

All training is in ministry, not for it.  There's never a moment when we are done preparing and we can start doing the work.  The work is here for us to do right now.  Right now you are being called.  Your ministry may not be like mine.  If you can make what you do something that glorifies God and shows the world what love looks like, you're on the right track.

It's a great idea to take your inner convictions and make an outer declaration.  Being able to say "I mean it" to the world is an important growth step.  We have to start from somewhere deeper, however.  I got this latest certificate because I wanted to protect my legal right to perform ceremonies and hold religious services, and I'm a big fan of what the Universal Life Church stands for.  I know that the paper doesn't make me a minister, though.  The certificate only takes on meaning when we carry a divine idea into loving action.  What are you ordained to do, right now?