The word deacon is based on a compound Greek word that means, “through the dust.” In ancient times, it referred to those servants who walked through the dust to wait on tables — waiters and waitresses with dirty feet — but it came to be used generally as a term meaning, “to provide care for.” Hermann Beyer says that of all the words for servant int he New Testament, this one “has the special quality of indicating very personally the service rendered to another.” So a deacon doesn’t have to be someone with good business sense or who is a leader in the wider community. A deacon only has to be someone who is willing to walk through the dust to render service for another. In Matthew, Jesus says, “whoever wishes to be great among you must be your diakonos — your servant” (20:26).
In line with our scriptural understanding, twenty-first century deacons are selected and affirmed by their congregation to be servants of the church body, who lead not only with words, but also with hands eyes, ears, and feet. They equip and encourage us to follow christ as he leads us out into the world. In the coming months, pray for these servant leaders as we ordain them and recognize their gifts for servant leadership.
The laying on of hands is an ancient practice of the Christian community, which stems back to Acts 6 when the seven chosen to serve stood before the apostles, “who prayed and lad their hands on them” (6:6). This practice serves as an opportunity for the congregation to affirm the ordinand and offer a prayer of blessing over their service. All are welcome to participate in this special ritual.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *