Saturday, May 21, 2011

Should we preach diakonia? Absolutely!

I'm not preaching this weekend but wish I were.  Why?  The first reading from Acts of the Apostles gives us the history and lesson of the original deacons of the Church.  We find the whole story in Acts 6:1-7.  The disciples are growing and widows are being neglected.  The twelve determined that it would not be right to neglect the Word of God and serve at table.  Wanting to remain devoted to prayer and ministry of the word, the twelve selected seven "deacons" to serve.  By name they are Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch.  The reading continues by describing the first ordination rite for deacons; prayer and the laying on of hands.

Stephen, in exercising his diaconal ministry, gives a marvelous witness to the new church, the new faith, by way of pwerful preaching.  We all know that Stephen, forgiving those who turned on him, then soon became the first Christian martyr.

From this time forward the church has been served by deacons including the robust restoration of the permanent diaconate.  Like those early days we permanent deacons are called to service.  Like Stephen, we are called to preach.  Like that early rite, we are ordained by prayer and the laying on of hands by a Bishop, the successors to the twelve.

So this weekend I would preach diakonia and the mission of Christ the servant.  And remind everyone that deacons are ordained to that call.  And finally, by nature of ordination and the example given here in Acts, confirm once again, it's not just what we do but who we are...Permanent Deacons serving Him and His Church by serving others!

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