September 20, 2009

Moravian Ministers Covenant Day has been celebrated on September 16, since 1741. It is a time when Moravian Ministers gather together to pray for, encourage, support and fellowship with one another. At such times, they renew their Covenant with each other and the Lord. It was during a Synodal Conference in London on September 16, 1741, that Jesus Christ was recognized as Chief Elder of the Brethren’s or Moravian Church, however, the announcement of Jesus Christ as Chief Elder was not made until November, 13, 1741. September 16 is therefore a very special day for Moravian Ministers worldwide. On such a day, the Joys of Ministry are celebrated and Woes of Ministry are reflected upon to see what can be done to make the Servant of God more effective.

The Minister operates in several roles. Of vital importance though, the Minister is Priest, Preacher/Teacher, Pastor and Spouse/Parent. How does the Minister bring balance to all the roles he/she is expected to perform? The Minister is human and must seek at all times to avoid Burnout.

The Minister as Priest is a very important role. The Jewish Religion gave birth to Christianity, and however hard we may try, we cannot successfully and completely separate the two. The religion of Israel was fundamentally a sacrificial one and the Priests, beginning with Aaron, played a significant role. They were the ones who were selected and consecrated to preside at the sacrificial altar, to represent the people before God and to intercede on their behalf. This was but a fore-shadowing of the coming of Christ who was himself the sacrificial Lamb as well as the Great High Priest. It is only through him that we have redemption from sin and reconciliation with God.

The Ordained Minister is a humble representative of Jesus Christ our Great High Priest, a person who is chosen and commissioned to maintain not the sacrificial life to the Old Israel, but the sacramental life of the Church, the New Israel. The emphasis that we place on the Priesthood of all believers, where each believer has free access to God, does not negate the Priesthood of the Ordained person. The Ordained Priest is expected to perform Baptisms, Holy Communion, Weddings and Confirmation.

Apart from maintaining the sacramental life of the Church, the Ordained Minister has another important Priestly function and that is to intercede and pray on behalf of the Flock and indeed, of all humankind. Jesus Christ the Great High Priest, whose humble representative he is, said in His High Priestly prayer: I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee…I am praying for them…I do not pray for them only, but also for those who believe in me through them (John 17: 8, 20). As Priests, Ministers of the Church are by the very nature of Ordination, required to pray for believers and non believers alike. The Minister as Priests must be a praying person, who prays with and for people, by holding up before God the members of his/her congregation and all those who are in need. He/she ought to bear the members on his/her heart and to love them as God has loved.