On Sunday, April 26, 2009, I was ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Now, I am authorized to administer Word and Sacraments. This took place at my home congregation of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Saskatoon, SK Canada. I will be taking a call in a small rural parish in Davidson and Loreburn, SK.
Immediately after my ordination, a seminary classmate posed a light-hearted but interesting question to me. He asked: “Was there an ontological change after ordination?” Theologically-speaking, I don’t think so…or at least I didn’t feel any different after being ordained. Roman Catholic theology speak of an ontological change effective at the sacrament of ordination but Lutherans and Anglicans do not see ordination as a sacrament or see the pastor any different before one was ordained. Calvin and Luther saw that the only thing different is that one is called to a task that is set apart from that of the lay person.
Peter says: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…” (1 Peter 2:9, TNIV). This verse refers to God’s holy people.
Hebrews also refers to Jesus as the great high priest, but to also to an earthly high priest in Hebrews 4:14 – 5:10. “Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Heb. 5:1, TNIV).
So who can be a priest? Do we only have one priest in Jesus, or can we have many priest, as in the priesthood of all believers? Can ordination make one a priest before God?
(Note: The larger photo is of the bishop of my synod, and of my parents, wife and daughter. The small group photo of the pastors and classmates has been reduced in order to keep their anonymity. It’s a tradition to pose for a large clergy group photo after ordination.)