Today you are being handed a towel of servanthood with your name on it.
Those are words written by Nancy Hastings Sehested for my ordination service on March 29, 1992. From that day to this, the power of that towel has been a part of my life. I won’t lie. There have been times when I wanted to lay it aside, get out from under the high calling it symbolized.
In 1996, I was presented an actual towel of servanthood by my church family. That towel has remained with me, a reminder of God’s sacred call to ministry. I took it out of its box last week and contemplated the flood of memories it holds.
I thought of patients I encountered as a hospital chaplain. I remembered their pain and suffering as if it happened yesterday. I remembered baptizing a stillborn child as her parents held her close.
I remembered the mother who prayed for a miracle in the hospital chapel after her son was injured in a car accident and declared brain dead by the doctor. I remembered the very moment he miraculously woke up and started his path toward healing.
I remembered the funeral of one of my church members, also a dear friend. I remembered the sheer joy of living and working with the people of Uganda. I remembered the day I preached my first sermon as a pastor.
I am grateful that the Holy Spirit abides with me and reminds me of my call — the grief, the pain, the labor, and most of all the joys. Remembering inspires me.
The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything that I have told you.
– John 14:26
Today, I placed my towel of servanthood in a visible place so that I would see it every day. That’s where it really needs to be, to help me remember.