Thursday, October 20, 2005

through the heart of the Chickasaw Nation

So last night a senior priest of the diocese and I decided to attend the Celebration of New Ministry at a parish 80 or so miles south of Oklahoma City.

We started off just fine, but hit a wall of traffic out of the city. We zigged and zagged and found ourselves with some clear space on the turnpike heading to Chickasha. (That would be Chick-a-shay.)

When we came to the second toll booth, we realized our mistake. We had missed the turnoff to the highway we needed. And turnpikes don't offer a lot of places to turn around. The next exit was 16 miles ahead. We didn't have that kind of time.

Sun was setting over the Arbuckle Mountains, so while we were stressed, we did Got out the map. Found ourselves a highway crossing from the turnpike back to the highway we needed. We were still going to be late, but it would save a few miles.

It was a gorgeous autumn evening, storms brewing, trees starting to change. I was resigned to the fact that we were going to be late, and that we would just creep in and sit in the back, unvested. My priest friend told me we were travelling through the heart of the Chickasaw Nation, and let me tell you, it is beautiful. There were grassy hills, and trees changing color, horses and cattle, farm ponds and little streams.

So we arrived in the middle of the sermon, and found a couple of seats in the back. But after the sermon, a hospitable usher came to retrieve us and invite us to "sit with the rest of the clergy." Which of course, you guessed it, was in the front row, sitting in front of all the vested clergy.

Thankfully there were some ecumenical clergy there who don't use vestments, so we didn't stick out as much as if we had been at an all-Episcopalian revue.

Everyone was very gracious, the reception was lovely, a new ministry was celebrated, God was worshipped, and we drove home accompanied by moon, lightning and rain, to be tucked safely in with husband and cats.


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