I was ordained at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, Chicago, in early June, 1972.
and in the right way
by the right people
in the right vestments
and in accord with all the traditions.
Many people were in attendance
dressed in their finest
singing the best familiar and stirring hymns of glory
and all of this led them to feel that they
were in the presence of the transcendent divine.
The candidate was charged to be present to those he served
and to remember that he was a part of a wondrous history,
a new leader of the institution for its greater future
but most of all for a better world for all.
He knelt and hands of friends and mentors and teachers
were laid upon his head and shoulders.
All of this receded into the past
and many then present are now dead
and the body then celebrated is now a shadow
and the candidate is absent there
the turning of the earth,
the immensity and indifference of the cosmos
and life and creativity and serendipity and love
and music and art and a community of freethinkers.
The former ritual sought imagined favor and blessing
that was always ours to claim and to make and
to enjoy not forever but while we live.
(Note that before the sermon was on the blog I always preached when possible from the table as I learned at Lincoln Park.)