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Ordination Meanderings

Assembling the church
like leaves blown swirling into a corner
— acolytes donned with scapulars,
stole-wearing clergy,
proud parents and siblings,
curious and supportive church members,
and, of course,
— the bishop with crosier
and the ordinands
shoulders and necks
like skin in bleak midwinter
waiting for the Spirit's sunshine
to come stoling them
with bright red pigmentation
for the hot summer of apostolic leadership.

Regalia of the Lord!
Church defining itself anew!
Deacons for service and Word,
elders for service, Word, sacrament, and order —
all from among the baptized,
from and with the baptized who live the Word
—Creator Spiritus animating
this motley crew
breathing the hallowing words:
"Remember your baptism and be thankful"
and "Take authority ..."

Here in this place
in the assembly's prayer
and the bishop's action
ecclesial alchemy happens:
tradition's future,
diversities' ordering,
locality's baptism,
retirement's replacement,
vocation's affirmation,
consent's commencement,
interrogation turned to shouts of "Worthy" and applause.

Here is liturgy full bore —
fuller than most of ordinands
will know or lead
in the places where
Love will send

Written by Daniel Benedict, June 21, 2003, on the occasion of the California Pacific Annual Conference's ordination service.

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