Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Ordination - Poetically

Getting ordained
was amazing. In an overwhelming drowning and breathing for the first time kind of way. I was being held and weighed and tested all at the same time. I could see all the details and yet there was a hot haze of joy and nervousness and the weight of giving up oneself and one's life at the tender young age of twenty five. This is my wisdom, to know who I am and how I can be myself in this world. I make my prayer, help me Lord, and then the weight is gone, freedom seems confusing. Yet joy bursts its grapefruit delight through all else and life goes on.

Actions speak louder than words. I have always believed this to be true. Especially when it comes to men. That is how I let go of most of the crap that my brothers say to me. I believe that "Love does," as Bob Goff writes, and that "service is worship," as the vergers pledge, and "well done is better than well said," as that infamous Benjamin Franklin said. (Funny story: When Sara and I went to New Orleans for the first time, for both us and together by ourselves no less, we were wandering around the city and wandered into Lafeyette Square. We both instantly recognized the back of the head of the statue of Ben Franklin, even with his Mardi Gras beads, and neither of us had a clue who the guy in the middle was, and still don't. Why we were both able to recognize the back of Ben Franklin's head from the other side of the square is quite beyond us. However, if this is an aim of the public educational systems of PA and NY, everyone now knows, it worked!) However, I also believe that word choice matters. Part of what was so intense about the ordination were the words. They mattered. It mattered that I stood and spoke to my belief in God. It mattered that answered the questions with simple statements of conviction. It mattered that the people present had to answer on behalf of the whole community of faith. We were in it together, not just because of our proximity, but because of our words.

There is a room that I had a class in during college which had huge windows. I had class around noon time there and I used to stare in rapt attention at the way the light fell in that room. I used to think about how gorgeous that light was and how light shimmered and danced the same way all over the world at different times. The light in Tuscany in the fall. The light in Seattle during cool clear spring mornings. Different particles, of course, but light of the same origin. We were all standing there in a church, on a small portion of land on a rotating planet, all from the same origin. Beauty can be simply terrifying.

Grateful does not even begin to describe how I felt.
Beholden, thankful, indebted, but also a huge mix of joyful and terrified.
I don't think I've ever held a Bible so tightly before in my life.
And that's an action that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
My first act as a human being who just became a priest was to find the nearest Bible and hang on for dear life. My first public act as a priest in the church was to offer peace.
The service was created that way.
The ritual foundation of a priest is scripture and peace.
Somebody knew what they were doing.



P.S. The video of the service is on my YouTube channel, linked here as the top video in the right column.