I admit I wasn't taking this as seriously as I should have been. Greg called one day saying my name was up for nomination to deacon. Would I prayerfully consider keeping my name in the ring? I went through the common process of debating the time constraints and responsibilities with the opportunity for church leadership. You know...it would mean a meeting or two a month, taking collection at the services, keeping track of the needs of the church.....right? I think I can handle that. So my hat was in the ring. Our small group meets on Sunday evenings so I wasn't at the lot casting service. I ran into Greg the next day, he shook my hand and congratulated me. I guess this means the lots went my way. Ok....so when is the first meeting?
First the installation service. Beforehand, Pastor Tom met with all the newbies to quickly go over the details. Yeah, yeah, yeah - this is one of those formalities I've seen a hundred times since I was a kid. Stand up, the pastor reads some stately paragraphs, say I do, God helping me, and sit back down. But as the oath pertained to me this time I figured I'd better really listen. It's time to stand up.
“.....the deacons relieve victims of injustice. By this they show that Christians live by the spirit of the Kingdom, fervently desiring to give life the shape of things to come.”
Hold on....are those chills running up my spine? This is in the back of the Hymnal? What does fervently really mean? Having great intensity of spirit, or hot, burning, glowing. How about some synonyms - seriously, arduously, persistently, vigorously, zealously. Perhaps desiring should be a more active word – seeking. So....I am supposed to arduously and zealously seek shalom by the recognition and relief of injustice. Whoa.
“...Prompt us (the Church) to seize new opportunities to worship God through our resources......Realize that benevolence is not merely a matter of financial assistance....Be compassionate to the needy”
This isn't getting any easier.
“....Be prophetic critics of the waste, injustice, and selfishness in our society, and be sensitive counselors to the victims of such evils.”
Essentially, I am about to promise that I will be a modern day Amos....fervently. I better start taking this seriously.
As someone I spoke to about this since that service told me - through this oath, nitroglycerin has been planted in the council room. Deacons are to be fiery agents of transformation, revealers of society's iniquities, and true promoters of redemption. Not to be taken lightly.
So here we go. God help me.