Three hours’ worth

On Saturday the celebration actually took all day. By the time I had arrived at the Church way early, vested, stood around and talked with the Canon for Spiritual Formation for the Episcopal Diocese of Navajoland (fascinating discussion!), got lined up and finally processed down the aisle with dozens of others, including 30 bishops, sat through the elevated and magnanimous liturgical pomp and circumstance and made our good-byes almost immediately upon dismissal, there was just enough time in the day to get from Albuquerque to Sparky’s for supper in Hatch, NM (yes, the home of the famous New Mexico green chili.) What did it accomplish? We have a new bishop.

All the requisite parts were there: incense, examinations, declarations, vows and vestments, magnificent music in more than one language, a Navajo blessing prayer, rounds and rounds of applause at the appropriate moments, and a rousing sermon by the Presiding Bishop (the one of Harry and Meghan fame—yes, that one!) Each part was carefully choreographed by the Archdeacon and Canon Liturgist, who I am absolutely certain has a brain vastly different than mine. She had lined up literally hundreds of little details, each related to the previous and the one that followed. Yes, it went long, but there was always something going on. It’s not like it felt like it was 2 in the afternoon by the time of the final blessing, except for the growling in my stomach. My part was to read the Gospel lesson in Spanish. Someone commented at the rehearsal that it sounded musical to his monolingual English-hearing ear. Maybe it’s my Ecuadorian accent.

Did we get our time’s worth? That’s not the question, really. Time on the clock is just a marking of the moments as they pass. Time to do what is needed, to be present to what is going on, to acknowledge fully and gratefully the magnitude and weight of the moment, that kind of time is of much more consequence.

Damn the clock—we done it up right!


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