It is for that reason that the first time you encounter Deacon John in service is in the reading of the gospel. As he brings the gospel out among us, he reminds us that he carries Jesus’ words out among the faithful and those lost and disconnected from God who he visits over the course of the week. He brings them words of encouragement, challenge, and solace from the pages of Scripture.
As he returns from visiting them, Deacon John also carries their needs and concerns back to the Church. That is why Deacon John now bids, or starts, and reads the prayers of the people. He offers up the intercessions shared with him and calls them to our attention and personal prayers.
Deacon John serves also to remind us that healing and wholeness comes when we draw nearer to Jesus, which is why he starts the confession that follows the prayers of the people. We do so when we turn back to Jesus time and again from those things that have led us astray, or those things that we have neglected to do as His followers. And as John brings the words and presence of Jesus to those beyond our walls, they, too, are reminded of the same.
Deacon John then calls us to draw nearer still to the Lord, as we approach the altar. Thus, he both sets up for and cleans up after communion. It is a symbol of the service at the very heart of his calling and vocation (see Acts 6). And he stands ready to depart from the altar to bring the grace received therein back to the faithful who are unable to be present in worship that week. Again, always drawing, as you see, the Church out beyond its walls and bringing those beyond its walls back to the Church.
Finally, Deacon John reminds us that his calling is one we all share in as Christians as he dismisses us out into the world. As we are sent forth, we are to reflect upon our charge to go and do likewise. We need to share Jesus with the world we enter back into after service, and draw them with us back into worship. Deacon John’s ministry therefore stands as an icon for all of us in the calling to both be and enroll disciples. So, as you see him in motion on Sundays give thanks for his ministry and the reminder to us to go and do the same