Ordination: “I found Fluency but not roar”


Today is the forty-first anniversary of my ordination to the Christian ministry. It is hard to believe that such time has gone by.

When I was a young man I became friends with the minister and poet Arnold Kenseth. I have written about him here. But this poem of his on ordination always seem to strike the right notes of humility and awe about what it means to be a minister.


I was anointed. A fire. Yes, I tell you.
An adazzle. His rare thump numbed me, awed
Me down to size and up to Him. Prayed, pawed
By the laying on of hands, myself anew
And aloft; I became lion to roar Him,
Eagle to lift Him, donkey to bear Him. I,
In that sunburst, languaged with seraphim,
Promised myself to be (Ha!) His emissary.

I did not, friends, manage much. True, I found
Fluency, but not roar. I have been sparrow;
And though jackass as most, I could not be least
Even for Him. He was scarlet and vast
And radiant and restful. He sang such sound
I heard the earth unloose itself from sorrow.

(Arnold Kenseth, Seasons and Sceneries, Windhover Press, 2002)

3 thoughts on “Ordination: “I found Fluency but not roar”

  1. Very nice honey… Who is that guy in the robe? Congratulations on the anniversary of your ordination! xo

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Congratulations, Rick on your 45th! Thank you for this amazing Kenseth poem. I remember heading to my ordination service with a completely functional view of ordination: You know, for decency and order within the church…we set apart a few to preach and administer sacraments. Ho hum. And was totally blown away when on that Pentecost, the Spirit moved through those prayers and hands – and created something in me or threw a switch – that caused me to preach and pray and feel far differently than before that service – like a fire that gave me a new passion and courage to march less fearfully for justice. I was prepared for a mere formality– but experienced an internal remodeling!! Rick – thanks for all you have done thus far for God through the churches and the Church. You’ve been a great pastor and teacher. Felicidades! And Martha, Congratulations to you, too! Dealing with a clergy spouse for 45 years is no small achievement!!! Hugs all around. Rev Dr Steve Wayles

    • Thanks, Steve for the kind words. I was up on the ANTS Hill this week, and saw many old friends. And I thought of you playing the organ at Colby chapel. A bittersweet couple of days. But God is always doing new thing, so we wait to see where we are called to go next!

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