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Heart & Soul

The things that have driven me to my knees.

Like the balmy May evening I was ordained. Then I was forced to my knees by Presbyterian custom. Decked out in a black robe, I was sweating profusely as I knelt on the church's carpet. About twenty elders surrounded me for the laying on of hands—the climax of the service. I typically do not kneel to pray; it hurts my knees, and my legs tend to cramp. The combined weight of all those hands was pressing me into the carpet and bending me over.

And the prayers! Long and sonorous. I needed air! I needed to stand up! I needed to run outside and tear off that infernal robe! That was altogether prophetic of what was to come in ministry in the years ahead.

I was on the verge of struggling to my feet when my senior pastor began to pray, "Lord, as Ben feels the weight of these hands … " I was listening. He continued, " … may he also feel the weight of the responsibility that is his." I groaned and prepared again to get up. Then he prayed, ...

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From Issue:Spring 1998: Conflict
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