Saturday was Seth Stout's ordination and it was quite a day.
Seth had asked me to preach it and I found myself very anxious about it. Preaching an ordination means that preaching in front of my peers and regional ministers and it brings up all my insecurities
But besides the all about me stuff - ordinations are really important. This is a time in which a person is being consecrate - set apart - for Christian ministry. It is holy.
And so, last week I felt pressure and at the same time a sense that God would "come through" and give me what I need. The process is always interesting and somewhat daunting but in the end it is exhilarating. And that is what happened.
I had one sleepless night in which out of desperation I found myself re reading "The Naked Now" by Richard Rohr and then everything fell into place. I actually wrote the sermon in about three hours and spent a little bit of time after that tweaking it. But when it came down to it, I said what I felt God gave me to say.
And the ordination itself - the service was touching, joyful and amazing. Seth is gay and this - for most of us - was our first ordination of an openly gay man. There was such a sense of appreciation by Seth's church and our church. One of the most wonderful parts of it was when Seth himself sang - "It's a brand new world" and the congregation spontaneously clapped and sang along. I hope it is a brand new world.
And the rest of the story, of course, is that after this he wants to find a church to serve. And it will be a daunting search I am sure. Until he does, he will work for us part time and so we are the beneficiaries of the exclusion of gays and lesbians by many churches.
But my hope and prayer is that this glorious day represents a new day - that is just beginning.
May it be so.