Yesterday I wandered up to the Cathedral Center to do a number of things. I was video taped for a new installment of the Just Action videos that are published each week on the Diocesan email blast. I also had a meeting set with a member of the clergy. In between these two appointments, I had the great honor of presiding at the Eucharist for the EfM graduates.
For those of you who don't know what EfM is, it stands for Education for Ministry. It is a program designed to provide theological study and reflection rooted in the Scriptures and traditions of the Church. It is a 4 year program -- and from the enthusiasm of the graduates, I'd say it works! Pictured with me is Jan Jones, who is the diocesan coordinator of the program.
Jan told me before the liturgy began, "each graduate's name will be called, they come up and you lay hands on them." I thought to myself, "what do I say?" I was wondering what it would be like not to have a "script" -- we Bishops have scripts when we lay hands on a confirmand or an ordinand, for example. For a moment, I started to panic. "I need a script" was all I kept thinking. Then, the most wonderful thing happened -- I relaxed. I felt the Spirit begin to move as the procession started, and the Spirit moved throughout the service. As each person came up, I laid hands on them and blessed them and prayed for them. It was powerful! I could feel not only my giving them something, but each of them giving me something. It was almost as though the blessing was mutual -- and that was amazing. When it came time for me to say a few kind words after I laid hands on all the graduates, I mentioned this sense of mutual blessing to them -- they all smiled and nodded their heads. This is one group that was definitely filled with the Spirit!
Script? Who needs a script at moments such as these. What is needed is to be open to the Spirit, and to relax into each moment. I've known this for so long now, but as a new Bishop I was reminded of this yesterday in a new way. WOW!