As a deacon myself, I take note of today’s dedication to the first Christian martyr, the deacon Stephen. It is interesting that, on the first day after Christmas, Mother Church calls us to remember the first follower who laid down his life for his witness to Jesus.
I have often thought what the first diaconal assignment – waiting on meal tables – can teach me. There is, for example, the waiting to be told what people want rather than assuming I already know. There is also the aspect of waiting, out of the way, until I am needed for something further.
Stephen’s death triggered the next bit of church history that Luke records in Acts. It is the story of another deacon, Philip. This deacon was the first one to carry out the Great Commission from Jesus. Luke records stories of the revival Philip started in Samaria and the missionary convert he baptized on the road to Gaza.
Today my greetings go out to my brother and sister deacons. We hold a place of great honor and great responsibility in the Church. May we honor the examples left for us by the first servants called to this order.