Sunday, January 05, 2014

Epiphany 2014

Epiphany is the anniversary of my ordination. Eighteen years ago the Rt Rev. William (Dub) H. Wolfrum and the clergy gathered ordained me to the priesthood. I was happy to have my ordination on that day as Epiphany is one of my favorite Holy Days.

I was supposed to be ordained by Wyoming bishop, Bob G. Jones, but as life evolved, it fell to my friend, whom I always knew as Bill, to preside. It was sort of like a full circle moment as Bill was the first person to ask me whether I had ever considered ordination. We were all driving to a meeting of Diocesan Council and I immediately broke into tears. This surprised me as I was not considering ordination.

Women had been ordained in the Episcopal Church since 1974 and I had grown up when girls and women could not even be acolytes or lay readers or members of Vestries or Deputies to General Convention. So now, riding across the long stretches of the highways of Wyoming, in my late 30s, it was not really in my mind as something to I might do. In fact, I had been sort of shocked by the first women getting ordained and wondered if it would be the end of the church! At this point in time I was a Senior Warden, Lay Reader, Lay Preacher and member of Executive Council for the Diocese, Deputy to General Convention and would become a Representative from Province VI to the National Executive Council, as well as teaching Sunday School, directing the Church Camp, and was happy doing all these ministries. So what was with the tears?

In 1991, as I turned 50, I went to seminary (the spaghetti sauce epiphany). And in 1996 was ordained a priest. It has been the best "job" ever. I reflect on the reasons I loved it (and still love it though retired) at Episcopal Café.

All this is sort of a long way into reflecting on Hieronymus Bosch's painting of the Magi visiting the Christ Child.

I love this painting for all the weird details. See here for more info on the details. The whole sense of the absurd and the terrible going on during this most holy of encounters reminds me of how it is with God and life. God shows up in all sorts of settings, sort of like the game of tag "ready or not, here I come." Armies are at war, people are making fun of religion, others are just join on about their daily lives. But here in the center the three who have been seeking their true hearts' desire, bring their gifts and kneel in awe.

It is a reminder to me of the Jesus I follow - who is here no matter what the circumstance. Pray that we will be wise enough or foolish enough to see as we follow our stars.