Thursday, December 20, 2007
Somewhere in the middle of this holy huddle is yours truly, with lots of hands being laid on me on this date in 1989, with the unlikely petition to make me a priest in Christ's Holy Catholic Church. (Yes, I was ordained in the era of color photography, but for some reason this one is in black and white.) This evening, per my annual ritual, I will find the VHS record of the event and watch parts of it. I have found it a wholesome practice to periodically remind myself of the identity I allowed to be laid upon me that night, and the responsibilities I still bear as a result.
The bishop who ordained me, about five minutes before this picture was taken, charged me to (among several others things) "take [my] share in the councils of the Church." I seem to have done that much, at any rate, though some might say that I've taken more than my share! I could not at the time have foreseen blogging, but I surely do see this activity as part of my effort to fulfill that charge.
It is of no small significance, however, that when it came time to make promises and take vows, no mention was made of councils and conventions and committees. There was, instead, a great deal about accountability to authority, steeping myself in Holy Scripture, breaking open the love of Christ in Word and Sacrament, working hard and intelligently and cooperatively, living an exemplary life, and (saving the most important for last) praying my guts out.
I said Yes to all this, but I should have known better than to think I could actually do it. So St Paul's words to the Corinthians about "earthen vessels" have always been a comfort to me, because, as he says, such vessels bear veritable treasures, and though I don't feel like a treasure chest, I know that the ministry entrusted to me 18 years ago has borne treasures to people whom God loves and for whom his Son died.
This confidence is what will allow me, after watching a few minutes of video, to sleep tonight.