This past Sunday we had the opportunity to celebrate and affirm those who offer their gifts in leadership and service of our community. The Scripture readings I had chosen for the occasion were Matthew 3:13-17 (the baptism of Jesus) and John 13:1-17 (Jesus washes the disciples’ feet).
Below are the vows and affirmations written for this special moment:
We are all God’s children:
made in God’s image,
cleansed by Christ’s blood,
full of God’s Holy Spirit.
We are all called to be servants of this Good News,
and all gifted in order to become a blessing
to one another and the world around us.
This day we celebrate those in our midst who have heard the call
and responded with outstretched hands and open hearts
to serve God within our Calvary community:
in prayer and preaching,
welcoming and praising,
cleaning and cooking,
counselling and healing,
mission and outreaching,
typing and counting,
teaching and leading,
gardening and building,
staffing and saving.
*leaders and servants of the community come forward*
I do not stand before you as a master but a servant.
I do not stand before you to gain but to give.
I do not stand before you out of pride but obedience.
I do not stand before you in my strength but by the power of the Spirit.
We give thanks to God who has named you and saved you.
We give thanks to God who has called you and equipped you.
We give thanks to God who will strengthen and sustain you.
We give thanks to God for the gift that you are.
I stand before you for my gifts are not my own.
I stand before you because of God’s great love.
I stand before you because faith needs to find expression.
I stand before you because I am willing to serve – you and God.
We affirm that your obedience is not without cost.
We affirm that in serving you bring glory and pleasure to God.
We affirm that you are a precious blessing to this Body.
We affirm that in serving you bring joy to us.
I promise to celebrate and share God’s embracing love with the world.
I promise to follow the pattern of Christ who was not afraid of getting his hands dirty.
I promise to seek to grow my gifts through prayer, and study, and training.
I promise to walk closely with God that I might serve you better and love God more.
We promise to partner with you in God’s love and work:
to seek to find our own calling and gifting,
to affirm the things that bring us joy,
to pray for you and love you.
*a time for the laying on of hands by members of the congregation and congregational prayers for those who have offered to serve*