I saw this entry today from a journal of mine, dated July 24, a day after my ordination. Now, that word "ordination" brings a great deal of baggage with it, I know. So, let me drop this quote for you first:
Nothing ontological changed. I still perspire and regret and fear and hate to shave. I’ve been reverend according to the traditional language of the church reforming for almost 20 hours now and I think the same thoughts and like the same things. But yesterday during my ordination service some things new were planted and some old soil was given rest.
I’m sitting in a warehouse loft with large pieces of fine art and pop found art on the walls. My friend Fred has spent several years on a painting he entitles the Call of St. Mathew, it sits on the floor here in the lofts where I've managed a coffee shop. Soon it will be brought back to him, I'm still not buying art like I hope to be one day. Soon, the other art work will be picked up my the friends who donated it for the extended Eucharist that we celebrated here, turn tables, wine, cigars, bread left over from the worship gathering... all picked up, nothing really changed about this warehouse or the building we met in for prayer and charges.
I'm sitting here reflecting on the fact that we never really transform either. We keep being us. After marriage. After childbirth. After divorse. After baptism. After ordination. But the names, and definitions and the dictionary change as we go. New creation doesn't leave behind only an ex-creation. What is born again does die like a seed, but it is not oblitherated like an atom split leaving only afterlife....
I was blessed yesterday, by old and new friends, playful mentors, and deep galvanic tradition. But that blessing is all around us. In the beauty of the party, in the green of the summer fescue, in the pavers of the sidewalk and the lead paint of the old warehouse. Blessing is waiting, everything is being anointed. What is changed in the ordaining is our eyes, our ears, our imagination.
It's Advent and my imagination wanders to Mary. And then to all the crazy theological gymnastics (artfully, no less) that were created to insure that what is pure is pure. to insure that what is holy is holy... But whether the Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant theologians have this right or not it can't have unfolded that way to her. To Mary blessing must have been an interruption of the mundane, a new set of eyes concerning her "state." Advent, waiting for hope to be born, must have something to do with these new pair of eyes. Yesterday,I read It Gives Me Hope, a poem by Cheryl linked from Johnny Baker:
It gives me hope to believe that Mary did not always want to be pregnant.
Not at first. Not really.
It gives me hope to believe that Mary’s ‘yes’
was not always wholehearted.
That even though her body embraced this promise -
every cell of it -
her mind simply couldn’t.
It gives me hope to believe that maybe those first days or weeks
were coloured with despair and confusion
hopelessness and fear
too sharp and raw and private to ever be told.
It gives me hope to believe that one day
not quite knowing herself without the familiar feeling of dread
and found herself
And so, the mundane life, all that is disconcerting, the terror and regret, every cell in me is ordained, like it was in Mary. A life spoken into and an utterance received. Mary's apophatic practice of having ears to hear...
Hear the blessing
when its time, respect the yes in you (wholehearted and otherwise),
and consider what is ordained
The title of my journal was crops rotating, and i never finished it.
But, I think this is the waiting. As i think about it, now, six months later, I realize that our crops are being rotated as we name, as the dictionary changes, as we are "inexplicably bathed in irrational incomprehensable delight."