Willing to be transformed

December 6, 2010 02:57 PM

Four new pastors were ordained on Saturday, December 4 at St. Paul’s International, Floral Park. Bishop Rimbo presided and preached on Matthew 3:1-12. The following is an excerpt of his sermon:

“One of the most frightening things about John’s vision of judgment is that unquenchable fire of his. Throughout the Bible, fire is the one reliable sign of the presence of God. God speaks to Moses out of the burning bush; a pillar of fire guides the people of Israel through the wilderness after their escape from Egypt; when Moses goes up on Mount Sinai to get the ten commandments from God, it looks to those down below as if the mountain itself is being devoured by fire.


I do not mean to minimize the danger. This is not safe fire; it can still burn and kill. But it is God’s own fire, this fire I want for you four ordinands and the congregations you are called to serve, the fire I want for all of you and all of our synod and all of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the one Church throughout the world, the fire of God’s presence, fire that wants to speak to us, guide us, instruct us, save us. It is the fire of the potter who wants to make useful vessels out of damp clay. It is the fire of a jeweler who wants to refine pure gold from rough ore. It does not have to be the fire of destruction, in other words. It may also be the fire of transformation, a fire that both lights us up and changes us, melting us down and reforming us more nearly to the image of God.”


From left to right: Pr. Jeanine Duncan serves All Saints, Jamaica. Pr. Fernando Otero serves St. Paul’s, Parkchester (Bronx). Pr. Paul Downing serves Redeemer, Flushing. Pr. John Flack serves Christ, Floral Park.