On Saturday evening, January Eleventh, in the year of Our Lord 2014, Deacon Juan Pastor Reyes was ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests. The service was magical. Perhaps, as someone who is ordained and all, rather than describing the ordination as magical I should use more theologically oriented words? Maybe I should say that the liturgy for Juan’s ordination to the priesthood “was a service full of the power of the Holy Spirit?” No doubt it was. But magical fits the bill, too.
Part of what made the service magical were the smiles on Juan’s face, on the face of the Bishop who ordained him and on all the people gathered to celebrate on Saturday night. Real smiles. Smiles that make you cry because their impetus is a joy that no human could conjure were it not for God.
Smiles like these, at least in my experience, are common at ordinations. I think that might just be because it’s amazing, isn’t it, that for nearly a couple thousand years, and even right now, people in our time, in our midst and in our church, feel the tug of God’s call and respond by giving their lives to Christ?
But despite the smiles (which both Juan and his Bishop are good at anyway) the magical part for me came on two very specific occasions during the service. The first was during the recitation of The Nicene Creed and the second during The Lord’s prayer.
Because The Rev. Juan Pastor Reyes hails from the Dominican Republic the liturgy was bi-lingual; the leaflet looked like a parallel bible and both Spanish and English were spoken intermittently throughout the service, except for the two places mentioned above. On those two occasions the congregation was bidden to “pray in the language of their hearts.”
After reciting the first two lines of the Apostles Creed in the language of my heart I opted out. I did so because I realized that what I was hearing was far more prayerful than anything that I could articulate with words… I was surrounded by people of faith, praying in the language of their own hearts, saying prayers I know by heart, but what I heard was something that sounded to me like glossolalia – a glorious mix of languages, accents, higher and lower voices, faster and slower cadences, incongruous beginnings and endings. All-together I heard what the day of Pentecost must have sounded like – it was astonishing, amazing and… magical.
And in the church calendar it is, after all, Epiphany not Pentecost – the season of the Magi. Later in the service – when the Lord’s Prayer was bidden during Eucharist – I was ready. All I did was listen. I felt like Mary in Luke’s gospel when amidst the shepherd’s amazement and all the hoopla she “treasured the words and pondered them in her heart.” Magical indeed.
So this is for Juan, quoting a song he’s probably never heard (and may never will). The band is Pilot, the lyrical intent was not likely theological and the year was 1974: “Whoa whoa whoa it’s magic, you know, never believe it’s not so.”
Congratulations to Juan Pastor Reyes and thanks be to God!
Congratulations to St. Alban’s for establishing the 5:00 Sunday Service, reaching out to another community. When there has been a bi-lingual gospel reading at our services, I feel I’m on vacation in a Spanish country. And, as Jim points out different cadence, different emphasis, and some other things I am not able to notice. Juan Pastor Reyes, congratulations on your ordination and welcome.
I have to agree with you, Jim. I stopped reciting the Creed as well. What was going on around me was ever so much more powerful than my words. It was a great night and Pilot sums it up very well!
Thanks, Jim, for this magical cup. Reading it makes me feel as though I had been there…and I wish I had!!
Yes and Yes! A this-is-what-it’s-all-about occasion! The true meaning of AWEsome.
I, too, was so moved by the different voices around me, each speaking from the heart.
I send my praises to our clergy who are committing the 5pm service to being a Spanish one, but for everyone. Talk about inclusive!
Having not had the live experience of being there on Saturday, I was so moved by your Daily Cup Jim that I closed my eyes and immediately could see, hear, feel the love in the Congregation. Woa it IS MAGIC.
I said the same thing—Juan Pastor’s smile was so REAL and contagious!! I could not stop looking at him and smiling from ear to ear myself! It was a joyous evening and so much fun to be a part of!