Christ's One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Anniversaries are good times for reflections, so here are some of my reflections on beign a deacon?
First, I am still being formed as a Deacon. This is a life long process and I am sure every clergy person will tell you. How am I different today than I was five years ago? I am not so quick to step in. I urge others to step in so that they, too, can find the joy that comes from serving God by serving His people. I understand even better my role as a servant and as a minister. I represent Jesus and the Church to God's people outside and inside the Church. When I was first ordained, I thought that the locus of ministry for a deacon was mainly outside the Church. I now find that deacons minister inside the Church as well as outside the Church.
I also see authority differently. All authority that I have is given to me on a temporary basis. There is very little that I can demand to do and almost nothing I should insist on. I work for the Bishop and serve where and when he chooses. A great example of this came up last week. I had prepared a confirmation class and our Bishop Suffragan was making his first visit to St. James to baptize and confirm on Pentecost. However, there is a small congregation in one of Dallas' suburbs whose supply priest was not available and the diocese could not find another supply priest for Pentecost, so the Bishop sent me to do a Deacon's Administration from the Reserve Sacrament. I would have loved to be at my home parish to see the class I prepared and worked with since January be confirmed and take their place as ministers in the Church, but the Bishop had other needs and sent me to fulfill those needs. As an added bonus, I got a chance to preach on Pentecost! Deacons very rarely get to preach on major feast days.
As a deacon - and especially as a non-stipendary deacon - I stand with one foot in the Church and one in the secular world and I act as a sort of bridge between the Church and the world. I bring the concerns of the world to the attention of the Church (particularly in terms of prison ministry) and I bring the message of reconciliation from the Church to the lost and needy of the world.
In the past five years, I have been changed and I continue to be changed. I find great joy and satisfaction in my service. May God continue to form me as His deacon, servant, and minister.