For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD,
and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.
The word “stole” comes from the Latin stola which itself is a derivative of a Greek word which means “garment.” The word is used eight times in the New Testament in each case referring to “a loose outer garment for men extending to the feet, worn by kings, priests, and persons of rank.”
The stole was originally a kind of scarf that covered the shoulders and front of the body. Wearing of the stole by clergy was adopted by the Church of Rome about the seventh century and developed into a mark of dignity. The look of the stole evolved over time; stoles gradually became narrower and more ornamented with symbols. In the United Methodist Church, only ordained clergy wear stoles.
On June 12, 2012, after eleven years of being a candidate and then Provisional Elder, I will officially “be stoled” as an Ordained Elder in Full Connection in The United Methodist Church. It’s not completely true that it all started with the above verse, Ezra 7:10. But, I can certainly trace the beginning steps of the madness, uh I mean journey back to it. What a journey it has been! Being set apart for the ministry is a lifelong commitment. Ordination, like marriage is supposed to be permanent. It carries heavy responsibilities, not to mention the hundreds of papers you have to write. It is no light matter to let the hands of ordination be placed upon you.
If I knew then what I know now… I probably would have shut my Bible when I came to that verse. I would have looked the other way and found something else to read. Because as I would come to discover and can testify about now, the Word of God is living and active. It really does penetrate to dividing soul and spirit and judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12). You see, I read that Scripture late one night and thought, 'That’s me! That’s what I want to do. Devote myself to studying God’s Word (ie: Law) and teaching it to the people in my day.' “Alright,” said the Word of God – “Done!” Only He forgot to mention, it would take my life and a lifetime… Or, that I would one day find myself at one of the most blessed churches in God’s kingdom, Princeton UMC. If I had known that last part, well I would not have closed the Bible…
Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for your call upon our lives and the journeys you lead us on. Help us to remain faithful to the end. Through Christ Jesus. Amen.
In His Word,
Reverend Dee Dee