frgavin on July 22nd, 2011

The Petertide ordination photographs now appearing in the church press and on the internet are disturbingly similar to the pictures of a celebrity wedding, with a bit of the Glastonbury Festival thrown in.

In view of the colourful clerical shirts and elaborately-tailored vestments on display and the whooping expressions on the faces of the ordination candidates, it is sobering to reflect on the Lord Jesus Christ’s words to Peter as recorded in John 21:

Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go (John 21v17b-18 – RSV).

John then tells us that Jesus said this in order to show by what death Peter was to glorify God.

The possibility of martyrdom is on the tin of Christian discipleship in the New Testament, and its possibility is intensified in the case of those called to pastoral leadership.

A violent death at the hands of God-hating humanity is not a prospect any sane disciple of Christ would wish on themselves (Jesus recognises that by pointing out that Peter will be taken where he does not wish to go). But according to the New Testament the disciple of Christ should be mentally ready for it.

Indeed, such spiritual preparedness surely helps those disciples set apart for the pastoral calling to keep themselves from prancing about like participants at a celebrity fashion shoot.

Posted by Julian Mann at 02:55 7 comments

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