Make a joyful noise…
Posted January 9, 2012on:
It’s been a wonderful weekend. On Friday, the feast of the Epiphany, our friend Chucks was ordained priest at our church, St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow. He was ordained by the Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway, the Right Revd. Dr Gregor Duncan. And on Sunday, Fr Chucks celebrated his first Holy Communion and Evensong as a Priest. Provost Kelvin preached a delightfully personal sermon addressed to Chucks in which he drew some parallels between the season of Epiphany and Chucks’ own journey to becoming a priest in our church. He mentioned some of Chucks’ qualities during his sermon. One he didn’t mention was humility. Chucks is one of the most humble men I’ve ever met. Struggling with everyday things with good grace, helping others before himself, admitting his own perceived shortcomings….I could go on. I’ve heard some pretty good sermons in the past few years from all of the wonderfully eclectic group of clergy at St Mary’s, where the Provost, Kelvin is not afraid to address the big issues and even take to task those who he feels might be doing great damage to church and society, but one of the most memorable was from Chucks a few months ago whilst he was still a curate. It was about forgiveness. How, despite our Lord’s example, he himself really struggled with forgiveness and how hard he found it to forgive in certain circumstances. Not just preaching forgiveness as a given, an expectation, but sharing with his congregation his own struggles and failures with forgiveness. When I listened to his words, they really struck home as I was having an almost identical problem to Chucks at that time. I truly believe God was speaking to me through Chucks that day, just quietly reassuring me it was ok to struggle with forgiveness. That it was just human to find it difficult, to fail, as long as I kept trying, kept working away at the problem I had. Trying to find the answer. And I did, although I’m not quite there, even now. But I’m still trying and that’s due entirely to those words from Chucks that day. It was really inspirational. As were his words on passing judgement, but that’s another sermon and another story.
The ordination was an amazing service. The sense of joy and love in the Cathedral that night was so great you could have scooped it up in big handfuls and thrown it about. Anyone who saw the huge hug Chucks got from Fr Kelvin could be in no doubt about how happy and proud he was that his first curate was now a priest. The spontaneous trumpet playing, and African drumming and singing reminding us of Chucks’ Nigerian origins and culture were just so the right things at exactly the right time…
We have gotten to know Chucks as he joined our congregation. We were privileged to share in his wedding to Adana and delighted at the birth and baptism of their first child Christian. He’s been a fantastic support to our family through some very difficult times and Ruth and I are honoured and blessed by his friendship. And so, so very proud both of Chucks and his family, and of our church which despite being in White middle class West End Glasgow welcomes and embraces people of all faiths, cultures, backgrounds, sexualities, ages, colours and creeds. Open, inclusive, and welcoming is not just a mission statement, it’s a living breathing warts and all ethos which translates into a place where although folk may have very different opinions and values they can still come together to worship God. Other denominations might want to take note…
“Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the tambourine and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord”
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