St. James Chapel was buzzing with excitement. The vibe was so tangible, so powerful; I could feel it through the thick doors separating the fellowship hall from the sanctuary. I walked through a side entrance and did a quick scan around the small sanctuary, what seemed empty moments before, was now packed. As I sat down next to my wife, I caught the smiles of family and friends, and immediately felt my eyes tear up.
“Hold it together Jay” I thought
Tears and laughter flowed throughout the ordination service. I could sense the joy of the Father in the room; His presence was thick and intent on expressing His love. My pastor talked about the miracle of my story, the power of redemption in a life almost destroyed.
My daughter Sarah, along with my son Matt, signed along with Big Daddy’s song “Redeemed”. Through all theses displays of love towards me, the theme of the day was loud and compelling.
I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
Wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed
This was the town I almost died in. This is where a lost, abused kid; tried to throw his life away with drinking and drugs. I wasn’t supposed to survive or become somebody of value. I was becoming a statistic, a reminder of failed promises and dreams.
All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet
This is also the town I found redemption.
I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
Cause his day is long dead and gone
I’ve got a new name, a new life I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home
My ordination was more than a day to celebrate my step into ministry. It was a Holy moment to rejoice over my deliverance. My past, present and future are wrapped up in redemptive power. It is a force to dispel shame, rejection and reminders of failure. The fragrance of freedom is released, drawing others to the Father’s heart.
I am redeemed…that my friend…is something to celebrate!
More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:11