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November 2022
Issue No. 311

Ordination of Adam Mok as Deacon

  (© 教聲/ ECHO)

Almight Father, give to this your servant grace and power to fulfil his ministry. Make him faithful to serve, ready to teach, constant in advancing your Gospel. 

The Diocese of Hong Kong Island conducted an ordination service on the Feast of St Matthew, 21st September, at St John’s Cathedral. Adam Mok was received into the diaconate by Bishop Matthias Der. The Revd Lam Chun-wai preached at the service, and reminded Mok of Jesus’ teachings, ‘The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.’ The sermon continued by stressing the prevalence of being a ‘servant’ in the gospels and in Jesus’ teachings.

‘We praise and glorify you, most merciful Father, because in your great love of humankind you sent your only Son Jesus Christ to take the form of a servant; he came to serve and not to be served; and taught us that he who would be great among us must be the servant of all; he humbled himself for our sake, and in obedience accepted death, even death on a cross; therefore you highly exalted him and gave him the name which is above every name. 

And now we give you thanks that you have called this your servant, whom we ordain in your name, to share this ministry entrusted to your Church.’

  (© 教聲/ ECHO)

During the liturgy of ordination of deacons, the Bishop recited a prayer before laying his lands on the head of the ordinand. In the prayer, a particular phrase reads, ‘that he who would be great among us must be the servant of all.’ The Revd Lam Chun-wai reflected on the significance of being a ‘deacon’ and ‘servant’ in the night’s sermon.

The sermon detailed how in the Bible, we invariably come across passages about Jesus willingly forgoing his status and serving others. The most famous example is of course Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, and also his teaching that whoever wishes to be the greatest must become the servant of all. Revd Lam pointed out that the original Greek for ‘deacon’ was exactly the word for ‘servant’, with a secondary meaning as a ‘waiting-person’. ‘To be a servant is to wait on others,’ said Revd Lam. To have patience for others is an essential quality of a servant, and to be a ‘waiting-person’ is to have the patience of preparing yourself for any moment that you’ll be called upon.

The sermon continued and detailed how in current Chinese translations of the Bible, the term ‘deacon’ is translated as ‘minister’. Though back when Robert Morrison first did his translation, the word he chose was ‘official’. Revd Lam explained that the Chinese character for ‘official’ shared the same oracle bone script etymological root as ‘affair/duty’. In the ancient script, the character for ‘official’ symbolised power and the delivery of orders. And so, the meaning of the translation is a position that was given power to carry out affairs within the Church. A deacon, then, is given power to deliver messages. ‘When the Bishop lays his hands on our ordinand Mok, he will receive a copy of the New Testament, symbolising his newly given authority to read out the holy scriptures, and carry forth the gospels. The verb portion of the Chinese word for “minister” denotes a deacon’s power and responsibility, whereas the translation of “official” tells us a deacon’s ability to carry out his duties. And so to be a deacon is to be a person who can assist bishops and priests by carrying out such responsibilities as preparing the holy table for communion.’ Deacons are also responsible for pastoral care, and lending an ear to those in need. 

The ordination of a new deacon is God’s way of calling people to become servants within the church. Revd Lam noted that the church has always been an organisation that divided its labours since inception, as the Epistle to the Ephesians tells us, ‘The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers.’ The purpose of such a division of labour is ‘to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.’

The Revd Lam also mentioned how in the Episcopal Church’s 1979 Book of Common Prayer, the Catechism section has this to say about servants of the church: ‘Q: Who are the ministers of the Church? A: The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons.’ Revd Lam explained that all who are baptised and who recognise Jesus Christ as our Lord are servants of the church, and all of us are equipped to serve. 

‘We are given different gifts, and so we serve in our own ways within the church, playing different roles. But we are all servants of God, and that’s why Jesus taught his disciples to be “servants”.’

Our new deacon Revd Adam Mok is a parishioner of St John’s Cathedral. Hailing from Guangzhou, he entered the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2012 to read theology. It was then that he attended services at St John’s, and was attracted to the liturgical tradition and the multifaceted theology of Anglicanism. After attaining his Master of Divinity, Mok stayed at St John’s as a Pastoral Assistant. After years of serving, Mok decided to join the holy orders within the Anglican Church, and so he applied at Ming Hua Theological College, and attained his Master of Theology, paving way to his current position. The Revd Mok will continue as Pastoral Assistant at St John’s after his ordination into the diaconate.

  (© 教聲/ ECHO)

<The above article was published in "Echo" Issue No. 311. Please click here>


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