priest

sometimes i remember. i remember why i started this whole thing. today was one of those days. boil away all the theology, all the atonement theories, all the adiaphora–call it simple, oversimplified, but it’s true. i love jesus. it’s why i’m a priest. it’s an irrational, child-like love. and so when i wash the feet of my parishioners, when i make eucharist with them and when i strip the altar bare–something happens.

liturgy, at its best, allows us to fully enter into life with christ. it’s not about play acting, although it is theatrical. liturgy is a way into the world of the sacred and holy. god’s time is not like our time–the fullness of time has yet to be revealed–and when we do liturgy, when we really do church, good church, we enter into god’s time, where jesus is fully present.

and so when i wash the altar, which represents jesus himself, when i strip it bare and wash it as a body before burial, something happens. something changes in me.

tonight i found myself done with all i had to do–the stripping was over, the washing was done, and yet–i could not leave. i couldn’t leave the altar. so i leaned over and kissed the altar (not an uncommon practice) and found my head resting on it, in front of all the people. i just stood there with my forehead pressed against the altar. it was strangely profound. and it broke my heart because i knew, i know, in my ousia, in my being, that i have to leave, that i have to let him go, to do the work that he has come here to do.

i guess that’s why i’m a priest, not that this love is exclusively priestly, but for me, it is why i’m a priest. this irrational, insane love affair with jesus of nazareth. i’ve had it for as long as i can remember. i’ve tried to love others, but it always comes back to him. and tonight he sits in the garden and waits for the betrayer to come, while i sit at home in my comfy chair. strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered. tomorrow will come when it will. but tonight my heart is broken.

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once more unto the breach

and so holy week has begun. it’s exhausting, already, but i’m glad to be here. palm sunday was amazing. the liturgy just worked. i’d love to take full credit for it, but i feel as if i had very little to do with it, really. i made some significant changes–we took the procession outside, which was a first for them. it was really cool because cars stopped, people on the sidewalk stopped and watched. which is, after all, kind of the point! i pitched one of the collects so high that i nearly shattered the stained glass!! and for the life of me i couldn’t bring that note down!! but i laughed and they were kind. i’m hoping to have pictures to post soon.

and today we had chrism mass. i drove out to the middle of nowhere illinois. the chicago chrism mass is tomorrow, but i’m instead going to sit in on a court hearing along with many local clergy. long story and i’ll probably post more info later, but we are working to ensure that a building that is currently for sale continues to be zoned for affordable housing.

anyway…bishop lee (pictured here with my pal dave and me, looking like a complete dork, but i’m just so darn happy he’s our bishop!!),

presented led clergy day and we talked about holy week and the icon of the resurrection. he is such an amazing man and i’m so thrilled that he’s my bishop. part of chrism mass includes renewing our ordination vows. it’s a pretty powerful experience to have your bishop hold your hand and put his hand on your shoulder and look you in the eyes as you promise to pastor to your people. then he prayed over/for me and it was all i could do not to cry. sometimes liturgy just really works.

came back to chi-town and had a vestry meeting. to be honest, i really just wanted to go home. but my vestry is so wonderful. we had a great meeting and i left feeling energized, which is a nice way to leave. it feels like we’re starting to move in a direction, to have a sense of who and what we might be. and it’s exciting!

so, a 14+ hour day, but a good one nonetheless. now if one of you dear readers would just write a sermon or two for me!!