“From now on until you die, your journey into God, into the mystery, into the words and acts and story of Jesus, both in scripture and out of scripture, your journey is wedded to the journey of your community, wherever it is and whatever it is … Our journey is no longer our own from this day until the day we die … And never, ever forget: the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
These words were given to me and my four fellow ordinands during the Very Reverend Canon Tom Carey’s homily for our Ordination for Priesthood on January 8, 2022. Although I’d felt that God had spent years preparing me, hearing these words right before I was ordained added more to my understanding of my calling as a priest of God’s church. Even as I felt I was going to explode with the joy and excitement of my future ministry, these words reached to the bottom of my heart and replaced my hidden worry and uncertainty with warmth and assurance, just as I was about to take a brand-new step on my journey of servanthood.
Yes, a journey not my own but one with the community, wherever and whatever God calls me to. I feel so blessed to have walked so far with my beloved community of the Church of Our Saviour, blessed on ordination day to have the in-person support as well as virtual support from online attendance of my COS family with me. I am so blessed to know that my COS family will walk with me with their love and prayers on my future journey as well. It is through the COS family I learned how to love, and it is through the same community I was graciously loved in return. This is the greatest thing I will never forget.
After I declared and signed my faith to God and his Church, affirmed my calling of priesthood through the examination, and prostrated myself for the consecration of the Holy Spirit side by side with my four colleagues, Bishop John Taylor laid his hands on our heads, gave us each a Bible, and anointed our hands. Then His Grace introduced the newly ordained to the people, saying, “I give you the five fingers of the hand of God.”
It was such an honor to be called “the five fingers of the hand of God,” and I found this description amazingly accurate! We are five fingers in different length, shape, and strength because the five of us have come a long way, from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds with different native languages, and each of us had seen uniquely tragic personal experiences before we were saved and called by God’s abundant love. We are the hand of God because we are doing God’s divine work by proclaiming the Gospel to the world through our own wounds and brokenness, just like Jesus did God’s work of salvation through his wounds suffered from the crucifixion. I see the five of us together as the hole on God’s hand, a symbol of shame and weakness in human eyes but a glorious and mighty sign of God’s will, by which God’s glory shines through and casts out the darkness in the world and brings light, justice, love, inclusion, and fairness to all His creation.
January 8, 2022, is a day the Lord made for me, for you, and for His church in the body of our Saviour Jesus Christ. So let’s rejoice and be glad in it, not only to celebrate as more priests are called to God’s ministry in the world but also to celebrate the Faith, Hope, and Love that God has sent me and you to share with all people by working together—as the hand of God. Amen.