So a rabbia nun, a preacher and the Attorney General of Oklahoma walk into a bar. . .
Oops, actually it was an ordination.
Last night, at the Cathedral in OKC, Bishop Moody ordained three new priests in a joyful celebration for the feast of St. Thomas.
I was in a number of spiritual and emotional places throughout the evening, worthy of a later blog post. The whole thing was a delight.
We got there kind of rushed and just in time for the line-up. (Of course, if you know clergy, the "line" at an ordination starts off more like an amoeba, yet somehow magically transforms itself into a dignified procession as we hit the head of the aisle). And I opened my order of service and looked at who was preaching, expecting to see the Bishop, or another local priest, and I almost fell over.
It was the Rev. Dr. Eugene Peterson.
Yes, folks, as in "Under the Unpredictable Plant," and of course, "The Message" and a few other books we may have stumbled on during seminary.
Well, when I finished making sure my jaw was shut it was time to go in. Before we went in the bishop said to us, "I'd tell you all to behave, but I know you all too well." Oh, I knew this was going to be fun. Then somehow a number of us who share a wry sense of humor ended up in the same corner of Oakerhater Chapel for the service and of course, we behaved ourselves very well. Ahem.
Of course the best part of priestly ordinations in the Episcopal Church is the bit where all the priests come over and join the Bishop for the ordination, laying hands on the new priest. There were many, many priests there last night, and we were all smushed together in a clump of white albs and red stoles--truly marvelous.
I'm sorry I can't remember much of what Dr. Peterson had to say--I was sorry I didn't have a pen in my pocket. It involved Thomas and Jesus and "I am the way" and that the job of priests and people is to listen together.
The rabbi and a Benedictine nun (RC) came up to vest one of the priests, and the Bishop invited the rabbi to give a rabbinical blessing at the end of the service, before the episcopal blessing. Shivers, to hear the Hebrew, especially in the context of some discussions over at See-Through Faith. Why the peoples of the Covenant can't have more sharing is beyond me.
So we went out to "Lift high the cross," with another priest friend and I descanting the refrain in the courtyard, and I headed into the reception only to be introduced to the Attorney General of Oklahoma, who was in the OK legislature with one of our ordinands years ago.
Really, the whole evening was like a joke, but not a mean joke, but like the kind with surprising twists and unexpected characters, and you end up laughing in delight at the end.