Buechner on Ordination

The passing of Frederick Buechner last week led me back to my bookshelf and my collection of 18 of his 39 books. (Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do!) One of my favorites, A Room Called Remember, includes an ordination sermon which has always spoken to me. Approaching the 50th anniversary of my ordination next year, I would say his description fits my experience across these years. I am grateful for the road and the journey and for Buechner’s beautiful description.

You will be ordained, many of you, or have been already, and if your experience is anything like mine, you will find, or have found, that something more than an outlandish new title and an outlandish new set of responsibilities is conferred in that outlandish ceremony. It think it is fair to say that an extraordinary new adventure begins with ordination, a new stretch in the road. Your life is no longer your own in the same sense. You are not any more virtuous than you ever were, but nonetheless, you are “on call” in a new way. You begin moving through the world as the declared representative of what people variously see as either the world’s oldest and most persistent superstition or the world’s wildest and most improbable dream, or the holy living truth itself.

Strange things happen. Again and again Christ is present not where you would be apt to look for him, but precisely where you wouldn’t have thought to look in a thousand years. A great preacher, the sunset, the Mozart Requiem can leave you cold, but the child in the doorway, the rain on the roof, the half-remembered dream can speak of Him with an eloquence that turns your knees to water.

And whither then? Whither now? I cannot say. But far ahead the road goes on and we must follow it if we can because it is our road, and it is His road, and it is the only road that matters when you come right down to it.” (A Room Called Remember, page 146)

Still on the road, still following, because it is the only road that matters.


Next Sunday, August 28, I’ll preach at Court Street UMC in Flint for the first time in 30 years. It was the church of Judy’s parents and grandparents, which made our boys 5th generation Court Streeters. Join us on line or in person, http://www.courtstreetflint.org.

3 thoughts on “Buechner on Ordination

  1. david.crumm@gmail.com

    Jack Excellent reflection on FB I’m in Evanston this week with family but am planning a FB reflection for RTSpirit issue coming up. OK to share your piece too when I do? Also love your photo! Speaks to his enduring value David

    Sent from my iPhone



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