On December 22nd, I was ordained to the priesthood. It was a joyful day – I have waited, and journeyed, years to get here. But, the day was not ultimately about me – it was about a community of people – the church – who has prayed me here, and laughed with me, and cried with me, and even (particularly in the case of my brother) argued with me. The day was piha – so very full, of so many emotions.
In Hawaiian thinking, we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors. Our ancestors help to carry us through this world, and it is on their work and merit that we stand. Growing up, this helped to instill in me the lesson, and belief, that I have never done something alone. I did not achieve something because of any brilliance I have, but because of those who support me, and enable me, and pray for me.
On the day of my ordination celebration, so many different people from my life came together. I sat next to Bree, my love, who carries so much of my heart within her. My cousin came, and, though I know her relationship with “the church” has been tangential at best, she has often been church to me. She has let me be my whole self – goofy and funny and sad and angry – and she has always held space for it. My brother came, with my sister in law and niece, though they are an atheist family. He came because he loves me, and he knows me. He came because we have shared a sort of communion throughout our lives, at our family dinner table. Some of my friends from high school came; some members of St Clements, a former parish came; my Dean from Seminary came and preached. The day was so special to me, because I was uplifted by so many who have formed me, who have played important roles in my life.
The day was beautiful, because it showed me who the church is – what the church has always been, to me. This mix of people who go into a church on Sunday morning and those who do not; a mix of old and young; a mix of personalities and temperaments and sexualities and expressions. This is the church, to me. This is who I have pledged to serve – God’s people, in all of their wild array.
I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors.