umm…. okay! Being an ordained pastor I have always found this hymn humorous. If you don’t know it, you can be subjected to it here. I really, really resisted singing it at my ordination service as a joke. Then, the organist, chose it as a prelude, I cracked up during the majority of it.
Sunday I was sitting in Gates Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY. I had the honor and the privilege of preaching at my former intern, Katie Jasa’s ordination (Katie has been a guest blog on PulpitShenanigans, some of your favorite prayer station posts were hers). As the weeks lead up to the day of the service I got more and more nervous. The weight of the responsibility was high. Out of all the people, all the friends, other mentors, other pastors in her life, she asked me. I was feeling the pressure.
The service was beautiful. There was ritual of our tradition, there were the beautiful ordination questions, the sermon wasn’t half bad (if I say so myself), although the pastor got choked up a few times… the music was beautiful, I wept during The Summons, which is not surprising. Katie’s parents gave a beautiful charge to her.
Then, before the end of the service, Katie officiated communion for the first time. She emailed me a week or two ago and asked if I wanted to help with communion, I told her it was up to her. When the bulletin information came through my name was listed. I didn’t think much more of it, I was focused on the sermon. But as we walked to the table I realized that there were not just 3 of us at the table, but 3 women. Three “young” women were standing at the table to officiate, three women sharing in the invitation, the prayer, and the words of institution.
I barely made it through, Katie was crying through the words, I was crying- the prayer was beautiful, communion is almost always moving, it is even more moving when watching someone you’ve fostered into this moment serve for the first time. I also thought of all the women who fought to serve at the table, all the women who struggled to stand here. But it was also more than that. There were 3 women at the table. 3 women. I heard the Easter Story in my head:
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. -Mark 16:1
These words were echoing in my mind. Three women went to anoint the the body of Christ. Three women stood at the table to share the body of Christ. I stood in awe. I stood in awe of Katie as she struggled to make it through the words, it was so emotional, it was so beautiful. I stood in awe of the symbolism. I stood in awe of God. I stood astonished of the fact that once again I had found a moment of my life rooted in scripture.
The body of Christ, broken for you. The cup of Christ, the new covenant. And three women stood to honor and preside over the body. I don’t know if Katie did that on purpose or not, I don’t know if these words from Mark rang in her head as she wanted two other women with her. But it doesn’t matter, God was in that moment. God was present in all ways, the Holy Spirit was upon us all. I will forever be grateful for that moment.
For that moment, and all the moments I can actually stop to notice, that indeed God ordained that moment. And Whate’er God ordains is right.