Bishop Dr Robert Solomon examining the five Elders-elect, who were later ordained. They are (from left): the Rev Boey Kok Yeow, the Rev Christopher Louis Kong Chung Dai, the Rev Peter Pan Seng Tai, the Rev Seet Keng Tat, and the Rev Andy Goh Yik Wah. – Picture by Phillip Lam.
ORDINATION AND CONSECRATION SERVICES are not to celebrate someone’s achievements or the wisdom of the community’s choices. They are made possible because Jesus Christ paid the price. The focus is on the grace and mercy of God.
The Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) was reminded of this solemn truth by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon when he ordained five Elders at the Closing-cum-Ordination Service of its 37th Session at Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church 2 (TA2) on Nov 15, 2012. The new Elders are the Rev Andy Goh Yik Wah, the Rev Boey Kok Yeow, the Rev Christopher Louis Kong Chung Dai, the Rev Peter Pan Seng Tai and the Rev Seet Keng Tat.
The Bishop, referring to Exodus 29 on which his sermon was based, pointed out that the writer of Hebrews offers a series of statements with theological logic: The Old Testament law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming (v 1); It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (v 4); We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all (v 10); By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (v 14).
Connecting these statements with the scenes of ordination and consecration in Exodus 29, the Bishop said we see a bloodfilled ordination service. Animals were sacrificed. It was because of their sacrifice and the mercy of God that the service was possible.
“But that was only a shadow of the reality – which is that ordination and consecration are possible only because of the cross of Jesus and His blood shed for us. A great price has been paid. We must never forget this,” he emphasised.
The implications, therefore, are that pastors – and all Christians – must have a sense of gratitude, gravity and gumption in their lives and ministries.
On the point of gratitude, a great price has been paid by Jesus, the Bishop reiterated.
“God has been wounded in order that we can be obtained. He wore a crown of thorns that we may wear a collar of honour. He bled and died so that we may live.”
Turning to gravity, the Bishop said “ordination and consecration bring us to an office of dignity and honour”. It is such a high and honourable calling that we should be very careful and hesitant, trembling with fear. There is no place for flippant attitudes.
Finally, the people of God must have gumption, an old English word meaning fortitude, guts or perseverance.
“A good pastor is one who will persevere and work hard for the Lord. Ordination requires of us responsibility and wholehearted commitment. There is no place for laziness. What keeps us going is the blood of Jesus Christ.”