Thirty one years, ten months and twelve days ago I stood before God, family and sisters and brothers in Christ and heard these words from the bishop: “According to apostolic usage you are now to be set apart to the office of Word and Sacrament in the one holy catholic Church by the laying on of hands and by prayer.” I then promised to preach and teach in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, the creeds, and the Lutheran Confessions. I promised to be diligent in the study of scripture, to pray for God’s people and to nourish them with the Word and Sacraments.
No, it is not the anniversary of my ordination or any other significant date, but today the promises I made and the responsibilities entrusted to me are on my mind. I have never regretted answering what I have believed to be a call from God. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and have certainly grown but always it has felt right, that this is where I am called to be and what I should be doing. All eleven thousand, six hundred thirty-nine days of ministry thus far have been a privilege and today I want to acknowledge that.
A prayer written by Martin Luther:
Lord God, dear Father in heaven, I am, indeed, unworthy of the office and ministry in which I am to make known Thy glory and to nurture and serve this congregation. But since Thou hast appointed me to be a pastor and teacher, and people are in need of the teachings and the instructions, O be Thou my helper and let Thy holy angels attend me. Then if Thou art pleased to accomplish anything through me, to Thy glory and not to mine or the praise of men, grant me, out of Thy pure grace and mercy, a right understanding of Thy Word and that I may, also, diligently perform it. O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, Thou Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, send Thy Holy Spirit that He may work with me, yea, that He may work in me to will and to do through Thy divine strength according to Thy good pleasure. Amen
Thank you for the honor of being your pastor and for your faithful partnership in ministry!
The Rev. Ellen Meissgeier