So this week-end I got to attend the Ordination of a dear friend as a Bishop of the Independent Catholic Church.
Bishop W, and his husband G, are dear friends of ours and Jon and I catered their Wedding Reception as our gift to them upon that happy occasion. They are both good men and dear friends and we have spent many a night socializing with them and getting into some interesting philosophical and theological conversations.
Jon was helping to record the Ordination Ceremony, and I spent much of the time in the Church Hall getting the hall ready for the festivities afterwards. Mostly this was prepping some water and lemonade and lime drink, and setting tables and getting the food and desert trays ready.
We had been delayed getting into the rental Hall by another event, and so for the early part of the ceremony I was till in the hall getting things ready. I got to a reasonable stopping point, and felt the urge to hurry over to the Church itself for the ceremony.
I had apparently arrived shortly after the key rites had begun. My friend W was kneeling before the assembled Bishops and other ICC Clergy who were there to perform the ceremony. A large and ornate book, a Bible I would imagine, was held over W’s head and prayers and blessings were intoned and some of the officiating Bishops laid on hands upon W’s head.
I wasn’t surprised at the gathering sense of Power and Presence and Love… although as a Pagan and Witch with only limited experience of other Religious ceremonies I am always intrigued with the experience of Power and Powers in other traditions.
I was struck by both the beauty, the power, the unfamiliarity, and the irony of the moment….
My own journey of the last few years as a Pagan and Witch and Unitarian Universalist has been one of coming to terms with Christianity and the Abrahamic faiths as someone who only recently realized that despite being unchurched as a boy and young man that I held some deep resentments of Christianity, and Christians, and Christ. Ironically it was joining a U.U. congregations that began my rapprochement with Christianity and Christ and Jehovah.
Fundamentalists of both the Christian and Pagan stripe will be horrified to learn that in those transforming moments where Power and Holy Spirit flowed into, through, and around my once and future friend I felt Love and Peace. I was neither driven back, nor disturbed by or harmed in any way by the experience; nor was a some how transformed into a Christian or shown in any way that my own path or faith was somehow less or wrong.
I felt my Heart Chakra open, like a flower blooming in the light of the sun. I felt the quiet but sure Presence of Herne in the back of my head watching over me. I felt the cross-roads currents flowing into and around the Altar.
I watched as my friend, now the Bishop, stood and was Mitered and Robed, and given the regalia of his office. Even though I haven’t been to even one Service conducted by then Father W, I could see and sense the transformation upon him as the newly anointed Bishop performed the rite of the Eucharist.
For a moment, I did find myself wondering if it would be all right if I partook of the Communion… but, I am not a Christian. That is not my Mystery to partake of.
I went back to the Hall and finished prepping things, and had a wonderful afternoon socializing with a few old friends present, and making some new ones. The day ended at W and G’s home, with a few of us noshing and drinking and enjoying some good discussion.
In all, an interesting Week-end.