|The chancel of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Scranton, PA,|
where I was baptized on December 10, 1972
Mark this day, but don’t.
This is the day, a day, yet another day that the LORD has made.
This is the day when God and the Church agreed on a fairly minor issue.
Meanwhile, echoes of December 10, 1972, rain down on me. That was the day that I was marked—I, and not the day. That was the day that I was sealed by a power that is far beyond us all and that is inherent in our very being.
Really? A little water in a glorified birdbath? A little oil on the forehead, and a long-lost candle? Was it not a moment decided by forces of self-interest, people clinging to old ideas, people repeating the old tropes of their clan, people betraying their helplessness, people seizing the reins and demanding a gift from God?
Yes, it was. It was also this.
Like errant arrows, wrote Lewis, our prayers require re-routing. We use water, and God says, “Ah, yes! There is plenty of it about, and you need it to survive, and it is all for you. Use water with my blessing.”
We use oil, and God says, “Ah, yes! It is a little rarer, and sweet-smelling, and it pleases you. Therefore it pleases me.”
We light candles, and God says, “Ah, yes! It is a little reminder of the great Light in the great Darkness. It helps you feel less alone. Go, then, and shine your light.”
So that was a very important day. And now, more than four decades later, the clan says, “We want this baptized person to work for us in a specific way.”
And God says, “Ah, yes! That’s a good fit. He’ll continue to help you grow, and you’ll continue to help him grow. Ordain, then, with my blessing.”