Stoled and Yoked
Posted on Jun 30, 2016 in Faith Updates
So, Pastor Brad and I were stoled last week … a yoke placed around our necks … by laypersons, strangers to us … toward the end of a beautiful two-hour worship service marked by a procession, hymns, liturgy, robes, vows, and gifts, we were stoled. And it was powerful.
Our church (FCC) is a non-liturgical church, rather informal. It isn’t unusual for a pastor to preach in jeans or for one of our worship team members to wear (appropriate length) shorts. Folks arrive on Sunday mornings wearing anything from shorts and a t-shirt to sundresses and khakis. Ties are unusual, as are heels. The organ is virtually a relic of the past, replaced by a different style of worship and a wider variety of instruments. And it’s powerful worship together as the family of God.
Yes, our God is as close as can be, and we call Him “Abba” (which translates “daddy”). And yes, we can talk to Him using whatever words come to mind and in any place and at any time. And yes, we can rest confident in the knowledge that if we have surrendered our lives to Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God has arrived and our salvation is assured.
And yet… in certain circumstances, the scene is necessarily different. And we are reminded afresh of the significance of who God is, who we are, and what we do – not just on a Sunday morning, but as a daily response to God’s call on our lives.
It is good and important to stand in awe of the God of the universe, at whose Word all of creation came to be and at whose command the wind and the waves obey. There is gravity to be felt in His presence, a holy respect and fear to be acknowledged and, for Pastor Brad and myself (alongside 71 others who were ordained last weekend in Phoenix), a deep and heavy weight to be felt at the charge we have been given – the call we have received and responded to.
After affirming our vows publicly, we were stoled, individually by name, in front of hundreds live (and perhaps thousands online) and before God. The pastoral stole represents the yoke that an animal receives when it is placed in service, signifying its submission to the one guiding its steps. As pastors, we are yoked to Jesus Christ, promising to lead others where He leads us, submitting our lives (in word and deed) to His Word and His Will.
Our stoles are marked by symbols that serve to remind us of the God to whom we are yoked and under whom we lead. An open Bible (the centrality of the Word), a cross flanked by a compass, reminding us of our charge to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the entire world, loaves and fishes for me (reminding me of my primary call to serve) and the bread and wine for Brad (reminding him of his call to lead in the sacraments), and a dove (representing the Holy Spirit) breaking the chains that bind us and reminding us of our freedom in Christ.
Church, our God is as familiar as can be and also beyond our imagination. He is both intimate and worthy of awe, both friendly and to be feared. But above all, He is Good. He is love. And He is worthy of our praise. There’s nothing and nobody else to whom I’d rather be yoked!
Here’s What’s Happening at Faith
Annual Meeting for Faith Members/Attenders
The annual meeting for Faith Covenant Church will be held at 11:30am on July 10. We will be electing two new members to the church council and voting on the budget for 2016-2017. A Town Hall meeting to review the budget and answer any questions you may have will be held on Wednesday, July 6 at 10am and 6:30pm. Both meetings will cover the same information, so choose to attend either as fits your schedule.
All Church Garage Sale for Missions
Faith’s All-Church Garage Sale returns this summer on July 14 & 15. This year, all proceeds will go to the MOMS Program. Everyone at Faith can help this sale be a success by gathering donations at home and/or volunteering to help! Donations for the sale will be accepted next Sunday, July 10 from 2-7pm and Monday & Tuesday, July 11 & 12 from 5-8pm. Volunteers will be needed the week of July 10 for set-up, clean-up, or help on sale days. If you can help, please contact Rachel at 651.334.5938 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
TeenServe Mission Trip
A huge thank you to all who helped cover the cost of the bus for the TeenServe trip! We more than made our goal for the bus expense and funds that are left over will be put in the scholarship account for the next trip. The 17 students and 5 leaders will depart next Saturday, July 9, and return July 16.
Weekend of Grace
If you are looking to experience God’s love and grace while enjoying amazing worship and fellowship, perhaps you should consider attending a Unidos en Cristo weekend! Two weekends will be held later this month: July 21-24 for men and July 28-31 for women. For more information, contact Susan Lay at email@example.com.
Amnion Walk for Life
Thank you to all who participated in the Amnion Crisis Pregnancy Center 2016 Walk for Life! The walk exceeded their goal of $50,000; of which the Faith Covenant Team raised $1,375! God provided a beautiful day to walk and celebrate our wonderful Creator-Redeemer and His ministry to bring hope and truth to moms, dads, and babies in crisis. Thank you to all who had a part in supporting this vital ministry!
New Director of Youth and Outreach
Please welcome Nick Madsen as the new Director of Youth and Outreach at Faith Covenant. Nick has a degree in Christian Ministries from University of Northwestern St Paul and has 5 years of experience in youth ministry. He has led 4 trips to Romania to teach and disciple orphans. Most importantly, Nick loves kids of all ages and is passionate about helping them build a relationship with Jesus. Nick starts his position on July 9 when he joins the TeenServe mission trip to Fairmount, IL. Please pray for him and all of the team as they travel and serve in the name of Christ!
Lost and Found
Faith has accumulated quite a few items over the winter that we’d like to return to their proper owner! Please check the lobby’s southwest coat closet today to see if anything belongs to you. There are jackets, coffee tumblers, and various other items. Anything unclaimed by July 10 will be donated to charity.