RECENTLY we were participating in an ordination service at the Central California camp meeting. R. R. Bietz, president of the Pacific Union, preached a powerful and appropriate message, and among other challenging things he read a pointed poem, which we include with these thoughts.
An ordination is always a solemn yet joyful occasion, and participating in these services around the world we envision the thousands of our noble women, young and old, in great cities, and little outposts, who share the burden of the ministry with their husbands. Nothing is more important to a minister than the knowledge that his wife is with him, not only in the battle of life and the responsibilities of the home but also in the more delicate and challenging experiences that make his ministry what it is. Fellowship in the service of God is a privilege known only to those who share it.
Sometimes it is impossible for a preacher's companion to be with him at the time of his ordination. When that happens it is a tragedy, for she is shorn of an experience that would mean so much in coming days, and something she really needs in order to feel the responsibility of the high calling of the ministry. We are happy to observe that increasingly our ordination services are being planned with greater care, and occasionally with helpful original innovations. Moreover, every effort is being made to have the wives of the candidates present and honored with their husbands. In recent years particularly has this been the case, and in our judgment it is not only in order but both desirable and profitable.
History records that in all great and worthwhile enterprises women have played a noble part, whether in the covered wagon or in the White House. But of all great enterprises the ministry is the noblest. That is why this editor was eager to share these challenging stanzas with our readers around the world.
The Preacher's Wife
There is one person in your church
Who knows your preacher's life,
She wept and smiled and prayed with him,
And that's your preacher's wife.
She knows one prophet's weakest points,
She knows his greatest power.
She heard him speak in trumpet tones,
In his great triumph hour.
She heard him groaning in his soul,
When bitter raged the strife,
As hand in hand she knelt with him—
For she's a preacher's wife!
The crowd has seen him in his strength,
When gleamed his keen, drawn sword,
As underneath God's banner bright He faced the devil's horde.
But she knows deep within her heart
That scarce an hour before,
She helped him pray the glory down
Behind a closet door.
You tell your tales of prophets brave
Who walked across the world,
And changed the course of history
By burning words they hurled,
But I will tell how back of them
Some women lived their lives,
Who wept with them and smiled with them—
They were the preachers' wives!
—Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), p. 497. Used by permission
The message of this poem we know will be a blessing not only to wives but to husbands as well. So we say, God bless you sisters as you carry your burdens in the home, in the church, and in the community.
R. A. A.