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Pastor's Perspective May 21, 2014

Pastor's Perspective by Ralph Kelley


What a glorious night we had here at First Presbyterian Jackson this past Lord’s Day evening. It was an evening designed to bring praise and worship to our Lord Jesus Christ. It was an evening designed to celebrate together God’s gracious provision of a new Senior Minister. Celebrating and worshipping were exactly what we did as we installed David Strain to his new office of Senior Minister.
There were many wonderful things about the night, but I want to highlight just a few of them for you. First of all, let me say a thank you to Bill Wymond for all his hard work planning the evening. He did a wonderful job with the order of worship that evening. Of course, the choir loft was full, and the choir sang so beautifully.  I was very pleased with the Charles Wesley hymn, “Jesus! The Name High Over All.” This was a hymn David wanted included, and the text to this hymn is as Christocentric as any hymn I have heard. I hope sometime down the road we can learn to sing this fine hymn as a congregation.
Another special part of the evening was having David’s dear friend, Dr. Jon Payne, preach his installation service. Jon preached a wonderful sermon from Colossians 1:24-29. Let me tell you something interesting about that passage. On May 19, 2013, (365 days earlier) Ligon Duncan preached on Colossians 1:28, 29 at the installation service for David Strain as he was installed as our Minister of Teaching and Mission. I must give credit to “want to be church historian,” Dallis Ketchum, for pointing this out to me. (Dallis keeps detailed notes in his Bible.) I went back and pulled the bulletin from last year and he was exactly correct.
Speaking of Ligon, the highlight of the evening was having two former ministers of First Presbyterian Church participate in the installation service. Jim Baird gave the charge to the pastor, and Ligon Duncan gave the charge to the congregation.  Of course, both of them were able to speak from a perspective which led them to say exactly what needed to be said. One of the things Ligon encouraged the congregation to do was not to forget the vows they had just taken. I was asked after the service if I would make those available in written form so that you could keep them in front of you and remember them. So here they are as read Sunday night:

  1. Do you the people of this congregation, continue to profess your readiness to receive David Strain, whom you have called to be your pastor?
  2. Do you promise to receive the word of truth from his mouth with meekness and love, and to submit to him in the due exercise of discipline?
  3. Do you promise to encourage him in his labors, and to assist his endeavors for your instruction and spiritual edification?
  4. Do you engage to continue to him while he is your pastor that competent worldly maintenance which you have promised, and to furnish him with whatever you may see needful for the honor of religion and for his comfort among you?

I want to add a special thank you to all the ladies from the WIC who made sure everything for the reception went off with out any problems. The room looked great and the food, as always, was wonderful. Thanks again, ladies, for making the night a wonderful event.
Semper Reformanda (always reforming)
Ralph Kelley