Monday, July 26, 2010

Ordained By God

Yesterday I was blessed to be able to watch my friend Lillian be ordained in the United Church of Christ. It was a wonderful, inspiring service and we had a great trip to Nashville to get to see so many friends for such a special event.

But ordination services like this make me sad. And a little angry. And very jealous.

I started out by writing this big long post that involved shedding lots of tears and making myself almost physically ill discussing the problems I have with the actual ordination (and related) services in the North Alabama Conference. But that didn't resolve anything or make me feel any better about myself or the whole situation. It is what it is. I can't change it. But what I can do is celebrate the wonderful thing that is ordination and all of us who have been called and set apart to do holy work.

Lillian's was the first non-Methodist ordination I have ever attended. I have heard all about and seen pictures of lots of other ordinations and related festivities so I have a little more than a basic understanding of how many other traditions function. And I have decided to construct my own ideal ordination service with bits and pieces from other services and celebrations from my life and the lives of my friends.

Location - Camp Sumatanga, the chapel on top of the mountain or Vesper Point, either would be fine. Chairs would probably be necessary either place.

Date - Sometime in late fall or early spring, before it gets too hot or too cold. Where there's just enough of a chill in the mountain breeze to make you feel alive and to remind you of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Time - probably about 3pm - late enough that I am not incredibly rushed, but early enough that it's still light out and we can have a nice service and still finish up in time for dinner.

Participants - I would love to have all the people who have played a part in my hearing, understanding, and responding to my call to be there. As far as the actual service participants, I know my Bishop and DS will have to play a pretty big, important part, but I would also really love if Bishop Pennel and/or Dr. Meeks could play an active part as well. I would love for the sermon to come from either of them or Diane Blum. And maybe have Ted Amey or Bob Murray offer a prayer or read a scripture. I have a few in mind as options.

Flowers - yes I want there to be flowers, if not on the altar, at least around. Something bright, representative of the liturgical season, and maybe with a little splash of pink or yellow to make it representative of me.

Stole - I think I would want my stole to be hand-made. I would really love it if it could be made by someone I know and with a story or meaning behind it. Color is not important to me, although I have always been partial to the white instead of the red for ordinations. Lillian's was nice because it had all the colors in it. I would be ok with something like that.

Music - Nothing recorded. Obvious this is pretty much impossible anyway given the location. Maybe a guitar or a violin. Definitely a couple of traditional hymns, and maybe something semi-contemporary (but again, I'm picky).

Me - I want to wear my robe over my suit (or at least the skirt and top). If I say or do anything (besides my vows, obviously) I would probably want to read the prayer of St. Francis and perhaps tweak it a bit to make it my own. I want to help serve communion, I'm not sure who I would want to help though! I would want to bake the bread myself. I definitely don't want to have to preach!

Laying on of Hands - I loved that EVERY person had the chance DURING the service to come up and lay their hands on Lillian and offer her a prayer, blessing, or word of encouragement. I want that!

After - After the actual service, follow it with a party. Particularly, a big meal. A nice, semi-fancy sit-down dinner of fabulous food. I'm thinking maybe something with an italian flair. Lots and lots of good bread. And wine! Ooh, and something fantastic for dessert. Maybe lots of somethings.

I would want people to write me little notes of prayers, wishes, challenges, whatever so that I could have something to look back at and continue to be reminded of where I've been and where I'm going. I'd love to have those things made into a beautiful piece of artwork that I can look at every single day. I really like the idea of doing them on squares of cloth that can then be put together into a quilt, although the jar of stones Lillian had was also nice (although nothing was written on hers)

There is a provision in the UM Book of Worship for a service honoring an individual's ordination that is pretty darn similar (except without the vows) but I have never known anyone to have/use that service. I would love it, but it kind of feels like throwing your own party which I'm not sure I'm comfortable doing, but I suppose I have several years to get myself comfortable with the idea before it becomes a serious concern anyway!

1 comment:

  1. If you are called to the Methodist church it will happen!
    But if you are called of God, and being frustrated... run, run to another denomination, the Methodist's act like the Marines, the few the chosen,the proud, many other denominations need good called ministers as well.