At a deacon’s gathering a while back, the question was asked of each of us – how long have you been a deacon. Now most of us figured out how many years since our ordination date and gave that number, in my case 14 years. But one of the fellows replied, I’ve always been a deacon, but only ordained X number of years. That reply reminded me of something Bishop Lamb had said to me around the time of my ordination – I was already a deacon, the church was just getting around to ordaining me. As I traveled with Bishop Lamb and Bishop Beisner when they have visited congregations without deacons, they have usually mentioned their desire that there be at least one deacon in every congregation and that they know they are already there, they just haven’t been called.
All of this made me realize that we probably have many deacons in our congregation, folks who just haven’t been ordained. As the anniversary of my ordination comes up, I’m hoping that others might be called by the congregation to become deacons, but also realize there are many reasons why some may never follow the path to ordination. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing diaconal work. Cause truth be told, diaconal work is everyone’s work – the work of caring for others. Now that caring might take many forms: visiting or phoning shut-ins; it could be giving someone a ride to church, the store or a doctor’s appointments; service inside and outside of St George’s – working with one of the food banks, or growing veggies to share with our neighbors; volunteering at one of the shelters or kitchens that serve the poor and homeless; or it could be knitting helmet liners or reaching out to vets and their families. When we serve others we are the hands and feet of Jesus doing his work of love among those we live.
We are all called to serve – in Matthew (20:28), Mark (10:45) and Luke (22:27) we hear Jesus tell us that he didn’t come to be served but to serve. While deacons “serve” it is to model service so that others recognize their own call to serve. I won’t embarrass folks by naming names, but I feel St George’s is blessed with the number of deacons in our congregation, me being the least of them.