What does the Bible say about ordination

God wants it!

Jump to navigation. Jump to content

Address by Prelate Traugott Schächtele on the occasion of the service with group ordination in the Luther Church in Heidelberg-Bergheim (May 1, 2016)

Dear ordinaries: Ms. Covolo, Ms. Dangel, Ms. Rensch, Ms. Thiem!
Dear Ordinand: Mr. Ghiretti!
Dear festival community!

November 27, 1095 AD: At the Synod of Clermont, Pope Urban II calls for the liberation of Jerusalem. God wants it! Deus vult. With this momentous sentence, called together from thousands of throats, the people agree to the call to the first crusade. God wants it!

God wants it! That is the killer argument. Sometimes in the real sense of the word. The crusades are possibly the darkest stain on the garb of the church. I am sure: God did not want her!

God wants it! That is an apparently powerful argument through the centuries - until today. The opposite too, by the way. God doesn't want it! Especially after last week's meeting of the regional synod with its resolution to bless people who live in a registered civil partnership, I heard this over and over again. God doesn't want what was decided.

God wants it! And: God doesn't want it! How do people always know that exactly? In most cases this sentence simply means: I want it! Or I don't want it! And then I just claim God for myself. To reinforce insufficient arguments.

God wants it! This is also the beginning of the sermon text for this ordination service. It is the second part of the sermon text already proposed for Rogate this Sunday, but extended by one verse at the end. So listen to the words from the 2nd chapter of the 1st letter to Timothy. There we read in the verses
God wants! God wants all people to be helped and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Because there is one God and one mediator between God and man, namely the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself for redemption for all, that this would be preached in his time. For this I am employed as a preacher and apostle - I tell the truth and do not lie - as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and in truth.
First of all: It's good that we stopped when delimiting this text with the 7th verse. A few verses further, in the 12th verse it says: “I don't allow a woman to teach!” And if we had asked the letter writer how he got there - I'm sure his answer would have been: God wants it that way !

But if what he says or, better, what he writes were correct, then today's ordinations would for the most part contradict God's will. After all, four of them are five women! I am sure: it is not God's will that they should be silent. After all, women were already the first messengers of the empty grave on Easter morning. Not to imagine women in church having that
Keep silence!

But without the reference to God's will, the sermon text does not get along either: “God wants all people to be helped and they come to the knowledge of the truth.” So here too: God wants! But rather to describe the framework of belief. Less for the pursuit of personal interests.

Three messages that are central to your ordination and your profession as a pastor - three such messages really catch my eye in this text. First - right in the first sentence: The double framework of being a church: Help for all people and knowledge of the truth. Because God wants it - at least if we agree with the text.

"God wants - that all people are helped ..." The Greek word for help or also to save does not mean in its original meaning spiritual salvation. It's about preservation and physical well-being. It's about returning home safely from a trip and about physical integrity. In a nutshell, it is about what the Diakonie concerns today.

However, the text itself does not develop this idea. The "knowledge of the truth" is his greater concern. He speaks of the relationship between God and man. He speaks of salvation and the importance of the mediator. Theology, or rather teaching - it seems - takes precedence over diakonia.

We shouldn't be surprised. When the church is in crisis, doctrine usually takes precedence. Other things then fall down all too easily at the back. You can see that in the Reformation century as well. In the Augsburg Confession, for example. “Church is”, we read there, “where the word of God is purely preached and the sacraments are properly administered.” No syllable for active commitment. Works !?

As pastors, you are people with heart and hand! My request to you on your ordination day today: Always keep the two close together. Annunciation always takes place in word and deed. Church is inconceivable without diakonia. The Church is practically written in the family register to contradict poverty, injustice and being excluded. Because "God wants all people to be helped."

But you should also come to the “knowledge of the truth.” The market for truths is colorful these days. Who is right? Religions are in competition with one another. Which one is the right one? Science and the Bible describe the world and people very differently. Which view should we follow?

As pastors, they should cut paths. Providing orientation on the paths of the search for truth. There are questions and answers when people want to hear something clarifying and illuminating from them.

As pastors, you are people with heart and mind! My request to you on your ordination day today: Always keep the two close together. Do not shy away from the courageous and revealing word. Be open about how you see things. But usually without the addition: God wants it that way. God has his own ways of expressing his will to people.

There remains a third thing that makes this text worthwhile, even fascinating, for me. In my opinion the most beautiful. They should be teachers of faith and truth. Not for the initiated alone. Not just for those highly connected with the Church. No: it says for the heathen. So for those who are looking.
For those who also live well with other truths. But also for the skeptical
kers who no longer trust any truth. Those who are left empty-handed.

As pastors, they are people with a wide heart. People who push the envelope. Sometimes even beyond that. My request to you on your ordination day today: Keep closely together what you come across on this side and on the other side of these limits. Even if you take your starting point out of the middle of the church - do not let the world out of your sight. Bring them both together again and again in a fruitful way.

To be a teacher for those who are outside is almost the most exciting thing that is put at their feet. Becoming capable of speaking in faith. And help others to speak the language. Make people curious about theology. Keeping the theme of God alive in the world. Unobtrusive. But at the same time unmistakable - that is the supreme discipline in the pastoral profession.

And beyond that, dear congregation! What I have just said about these five - it actually applies to all of us. "Because" - to let Martin Luther have his say, "what crept out of baptism can boast that it has already been consecrated as a priest, bishop and pope." So baptism does it in the end. Baptism makes us all gifted. Invited to help shape the church and the world. And now I dare to add: God wants it that way. In baptism God shows his good will for us humans. "Because God wants all people to be helped and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

We will not be able to cope with this task for now. Ordained or not. But that's no reason not to get into this business. With all the energy we have. With all the gifts that are placed in us. If it is really God who wants it, God will not fail in his good spirit. That goes for all of us. And
today especially for them who are being ordained here. First of all, let's celebrate today. Amen.