Sunday, July 23, 2006

Will the circle be unbroken ...

Yesterday I schlepped up to Grace Cathedral for the Investiture of the Eighth Bishop of California.

I had been considering not-going but was assured that Bishop Marc and our PB-elect, Katharine Jefferts Schori, would be serving communion in the overflow seats in the basement.

It was a grand, if extremely chaotic, day. The liturgy started out with my feeling I was watching a performance on TV, but I got more involved. The sermon was astoundingly good, and as promised, the bishops (and +Nedi Rivera) showed up downstairs.

+Katharine was not wearing her bishop choir dress so she looked like another priest in a white stole. But I was hanging out waiting for her to arrive; she passed by me in the aisle. Her face has been pictured a lot.

I took communion from her, and remembered sixteen years to the day before, when Barbara Harris had visited and our ikon of Mary Magdalene had been dedicated. (The ikon got a beautiful red and white bouquet, to match the chancel flowers.) I was on the moon then, thinking of the possibilities for women.

After communion I was standing in the aisles thinking about this, and started being overcome with emotion. (I think it was also sinking in that Bill Swing wasn't our bishop any more.) Things felt new and scary. A lady (Eliza) noticed me and embraced me with "I understand". Turns out she was in Columbus (and says she almost knocked someone over getting into +Katherine's line).

(She's of my mother's generation. What they must have thought, after years of being relegated to the kitchen and the sacristry. +Nedi came by on her way out of the hall and gave Eliza a big hug. I was suitably impressed.)

It's new and scary. We live in difficult times. I don't have the optimism of twenty-nine any more. But I will remember that communion. And I will try to keep the faith like Mary Magdalene did, as Bishop Perry of North Carolina exhorted us in his fabulous sermon.

(+Katharine had a recieving line out on the labyrinth, a few yards from where I was sitting. I couldn't bring myself to join it, but admired her with fangirl love. I did thank Bishop Perry for his sermon when I encountered him at the reception.)


Blogger Charlotte said...

Hey, Charlotte. I check on your blog every once in a while and you are not here. If you were my neighbor, I'd call a few times. Then I'd do a drive-by with muffins, or cookies, or something. As you and I live on opposite sides of the country, that's obviously not possible. So, I am posting a comment, with hopes it will fling towards you :)
I hope you are well, or getting better and that your summer was enjoyable.

August 31, 2006 4:09 AM  

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