Monday, June 16, 2008

Reflections on an Ordination

I feel I've been neglecting my creative self, with only one day of sewing out of the past two weeks and not much blogging; but I've done plenty of writing elsewhere. Input and output; the days are rich and varied, and my desire to sleep has cut in on some of the chronicle-output, but I should at least carry my camera more often than I do.

After Thursday's panel discussion (I'll add a link for the project) came Saturday's graduation for my cousin Delanie, followed by NOT having coffee with Mustafa (another missed opportunity, but he needs to give me more than 24 hours notice of when he'll be in the country); followed by church this morning and delivering the Prayers of Intercession from the lectern (ah! ah!); followed by Dean's ordination. (Hence the photo.)

This shot comes right after the "laying on of hands" wherein some 20 ordained ministers from various churches (Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Other) prayed over the kneeling figure of my pal Dean Seal, who FINALLY became a Reverend today. After lots of hard work and struggle, including a pig-headed determination to do it HIS WAY always. He's been ordained to his own organizational ministry, Spirit in the House (need to post a link for this too), though he retains an unpaid Associate position at Westminster Presbyterian, where the ordination took place. I digress - the laying on of hands was moving and remarkable, particularly in that the visual composition of the act was so perfect -- I didn't take a photo, because we were supposed to be praying after all -- but the small altar in the Chapel framed a classical gathering of figures all touching one another, a chain of those furthest away from Dean, at center, towards him kneeling where five ministers touched his head and shoulders -- all facing him at center, heads bowed, and you can see how power and responsibility are conveyed in this physical act of connection and acceptance. Really amazing. My shot is after the Amen of course, during the hand-shaking and back-slapping.

My son was with me, in the interest of spending time with him and also giving his father a break on Father's day -- Harper stayed focused on a fair portion of the service, and seemed interested in the laying on of hands (though he didn't comment.) What really caught his attention was the organ recessional, the Toccata from Symphony V by someone or another -- "It's church party music!" said Harper excitedly. As indeed it is, joyous music and quite powerful in the small Chapel. He sat on my lap and rested his head on my arm while he listened. He looked tired, not surprisingly, but he had the pleased expression of enjoyment on his face. I wonder if it didn't remind him a little of merry-go-round music -- I've never coaxed him into riding one, but he loves to watch them and to listen. Now that I think of it, one of his first observable acts of music appreciation happened there at Westminster, when he was barely a year old -- I took him with me to a gallery opening in their Heller Commons area, and we paused as I held him in my arms to listen to someone playing an upright piano. He was very focused on the music; and he extended his little arm to lay his hand flat atop the piano's case, clearly feeling the vibrations of the keys as they were played. Someone took of picture of this and sent it to me, seemingly long ago. I'm glad he'll have these early memories to form some sort of seedbed for future experience.

Meanwhile, I wonder if I'll ever wish to pursue ordained ministry. It's still hard to imagine why I would, but I haven't closed my mind to any of the possible avenues.

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