Dear Friends in Christ,
A couple of decades ago, a fellow colleague in ministry and friend, the Rev. Dean Higgs, participated in my installation at a church in Kentucky. Dean is now retired having most recently served as a Stated Clerk of a presbytery in New Jersey. His part in the installation was to give me a charge at the end of the service. I thought then that it was a great exhortation and appropriate for all who follow Christ. As we begin the New Year, I thought that I would give us all some advice, encouragement, and direction for 2017 by giving you a charge that reflects what I remember about what Dean said to me so long ago:
Brothers and sisters, fellow partners in ministry and friends, I charge you as the instruments of the Word in and for this place and as ambassadors of Christ, to serve God, and to serve your families, and to serve this congregation and community, as they deserve, and to not count the cost … to fight and not heed the wounds … and to toil and not seek rest … and to labor and not ask for any reward, save that of knowing that you do the will of God.
I charge you to ask not for tasks suited to your strength, but for strength more suited to your tasks and may you be children of quietness and heirs of peace, and I charge you to find new charm, new music, and new understanding in the old familiar words of Scripture.
I charge you with a vision that inspires strength that endures. May the grace of Jesus Christ, who wore our flesh as a monarch’s robe and walked the ways of earth like a conqueror in triumph be with you always. Now, according to the power that works in us, may you be a faithful soldier in the work of the Church Militant unto the moment you enter into the Church Triumphant. Glory be to God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.
It is my prayer that God will strengthen all of us for the tasks that await us in the coming year.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Ernie Walls