Luke 22:24 A dispute also arose among the disciples, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.
25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors.
26 But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.
27 For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves.
This bit of dialogue comes while Jesus and the disciples were in the upper room. Jesus had taken the bread, and given thanks, he gave it to them saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
Then Jesus tells them in a rather cryptic way that one of them will betray him, and they questioned one another about who would do this.
Then comes another dispute over which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.
Two very important things had just happen. First Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist of his Body and Blood. Second he told them there was a betrayer in the midst.
Now they are fighting over who would be the greatest! Does this sound like men to you? Yes, me too!
These men were nobody special, really. They were fishermen and tradesmen who were very simple men. They had ambitions like any other men. They had their foibles like any other men.
The real difference about this men is that they were chosen by Jesus to build his church and carry the message of salvation to the world.
Jesus chose ordinary men for this work, and he chooses ordinary men today to carry on that same work.
The most important quality for the ministers of the Gospel is a willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit.
I have something in common with my Bishop and every clergymen in our diocese. I am a Deacon.
Our Bishop is a Deacon, as is your Rector.
Just because we are priests, and our Right Reverend Father is a Bishop, we never stop being Deacons.
The ministry of Deacons is servanthood. The first time this is mentioned in the Gospel of St. John is at the wedding in Cana. When the wine had run out, and Mary had mentioned it to Jesus, she then went to speak to the diakonois which is Greek for servants, and from which we get the word Deacon.
The ministry of a Deacon is as a servant. In the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 6, we can read of the first time Deacons were selected by the Apostles, to serve the widows and presumably others who were in need.
St. Stephen is the first one mentioned as one of those seven men who were brought before the Apostles for ordination. The Apostles prayed and laid their hands on the men to ordain them. This tradition is still among us as you will see shortly.
While the Diaconate is a transitional step for those called to the priesthood, it is nonetheless an important one. Service to you, the Body of Christ is foundational to our calling.
We are among you as ones who serve. When the Bishop begins his examination of the candidate, listen carefully. You will hear your bishop charge the candidate to pattern his life after the Holy Scriptures, to make Christ known to others, and make the needs of the world known to the Church.
These things do not disappear when a man is ordained to the priesthood. They remain foundational to all of us, who are your servants.
Pray for him as he begins this journey of servanthood through the ordained ministry. His soul will be forever altered and his destiny will be tied to you whom he will serve.
And pray for all of us who continue to serve the Lord and you, the Body of Christ. Amen.