Diaconal enquirer and blogger Terry Smith ponders how all believers are everyday deacons.
I don’t know about you.. but that almost sounds like part of a YA book title from a series of books aimed at teenagers, “Five go deaconing together”, “The Secret Seven and the deacon’s garden”. “Percy Jackson and the search for the missing deaconhood of all believers”
We hear a lot about the priesthood all believers.
TLDR explanation: That in regards to “access” to God, any Christian has as much “right” as anyone in the ministry from a pope to a curate on his or her first day. This does not deny the authority of ministry, nor that a minister has a fundamental change of being at the point of their ordination and sealing into the ministry of the Church by the Holy Spirit – yes, I know there is a posh Greek theological word for this, and no, at this moment in time I cannot remember it – just that their change is a change within them and an empowerment for their ministry, not a “special access” or “VIP” status in regards to “access” to God.
I have been thinking a lot recently about the deaconhood of all believers.
One of the myriad joys of deacon ministry is that deacons can encourage all believers in the church (including the priests!) to look at their own servant ministry, their “deaconhood” in what they do. How they are ambassadors for Christ in their workplace and daily lives, how they are servants of Christ when they are putting other people’s needs before their own – tidying the church, cleaning for a person who they know is struggling, volunteering at a youth group, shopping for someone who through age or emotional / mental need cannot leave the house, nursing someone who needs care, feeding someone who is hungry, speaking up for someone who does not feel like they have a voice.
I am encouraged that whilst in my area the diaconate is a neglected ministry within the Church of England (give me time…..(and patience, lots of patience, Lord, (oh, and courage Lord.. strength, lots of your Spirit, in fact, any gift going, Lord!)))) People having a diaconal nature is not. I see so many people sacrificing of themselves, almost to the point of their capacity, and I am so grateful for them for that, and the church should be too.
As we approach Passiontide, we are coming to the time for Cathedrals to have the Chrism Eucharist.
One of the parts of this service is the renewal of Ministry vows, where all types of ministry are affirmed, and vows recommitted to. Obviously in areas where deacons are less encouraged, only a few people stand at the point when the deacon’s vows are recommitted to.
I am struck with the image that perhaps this should be an “I am Spartacus” moment, that like those who were willing to die to save Spartacus, all believers should stand, for, we ALL are deacons (especially priests as their priestly vows only complement their diaconal vows, they don’t replace them) – some just don’t realise it yet, or have not been told.
As such, no matter what the future may hold, I remain, everyday, an everyday deacon.