How about the Rite of Blessing--sprinkling the crowd with baptismal water, using a budding branch (lots of homage to our Pagan roots), to symbolize our new life. If you say yes, I'll send you the order I usually use to do it, which you can adapt as you wish.I took the longer prayer of the two she sent and ... almost entirely rewrote it.
I tell people that this is one of the more ancient rites of the church, a reminder of baptism.
I take a big bowl of water (sometimes I'll use local water--say, from the Mystic, or even better, salt water from the ocean), dip a branch in it (all the better if it's budding). Say one of the following prayers.
Then I walk around the circle sprinkling people with the branch dipped in water and telling them in turn (maybe 3-4 at a time) that they are God's beloved, with whom God is well pleased.
I was telling Ari this yesterday, and she said isn't it great that we both have church communities where we can be given a text in advance and entirely rewrite it and that's okay.
I enjoyed doing (though I probably should have prepared more of an intro of what this ritual is and why we're doing it) and I felt comfortable ... like I was just doing my thing, and I wasn't stressing out like I usually do (about doing it "wrong" ... because it's a performance in front of people).
After the service was over, I thanked Molly for inviting me to participate in the service.
She said, "Thank you, for being one of our ministers."
♥ And yeah, trufax.
I still don't quite feel like a role of full-time work within the Church is where I'm called to be, but I can use and share my gifts and graces in the churches that will have me.
One of the conversations cadenzamuse and I had on Thursday was about women leadership in the Church, and I commented that it always felt like a given to me that women could be pastors, even though I guess one might expect me to feel otherwise since I grew up with male pastors (I don't really remember Ron and Patty -- Pastor Bill started when I was 9; and the pastors at the churches we worshiped with during the summer were also male). I said that Pastor Bill also didn't impress me at all (so it's like how my response to the idea of lay speaker school is, "Well, Bob [CWM's pulpit supply last summer] was a certified lay speaker, so clearly you don't need to have any actual preaching skills to be a CLS, so I'm not worried about lay speaker school at all"), and I grew up with a cadre of retired women running the church, so I had a clear model of women leadership in the church.
Perhaps ironically, while nothing about Pastor Bill made me think, "I couldn't be a pastor," the women pastors I so love and am so inspired by now do. Because they are amazing. And I am not that gifted.
Molly did the Welcome and the Gospel Storytelling at this morning's sunrise service, and she and Laura Ruth and Tiffany are so filled with Spirit and Word and Love...
And also, I'm a grown-up now, and I understand better how much work goes into being a pastor -- and that is really intimidating.
But I'm still learning. And I am so young yet.
O God, Source and Breath of all being,***
receive the prayers of your people:
We celebrate our creation and redemption;
receive our prayers and bless this water
which gives fruitfulness to the fields
and refreshment and cleansing to all people.
After you led your people to freedom through the Red Sea,
You satisfied their thirst in the desert with water from the rock.
In the waters of baptism and blessing, we are renewed and transformed;
we are washed clean of our old lives,
of all that obscures the spark of Divinity within each of us;
we are brought through darkness and water
into the light of new life.
May this water be a reminder to us of the covenant You have made
with each of us and with the whole communion of saints.
May this water bring us up from the ground of stagnancy and death,
into the light and breath of new life,
of life abundant,
of life everlasting.
We ask this in the name of God our Creator,
Jesus our Redeemer,
and the Spirit our Sustainer.
(and the people of God said) AMEN.
the prayer Molly sent:
Lord God almighty,
Hear the prayers of your people:
We celebrate our creation and redemption
Hear our prayers and bless + this water
Which gives fruitfulness to the fields
And refreshment and cleansing to all men, women and children
You chose water to show your goodness when you led your people to freedom
Through the red sea
And satisfied their thirst in the desert with water from the rock.
Water was the symbol used by the prophets to foretell your new covenant with man
You made the water of baptism holy
By Christ’s baptism in the Jordan
By it you give us a new birth
And renew us in holiness
May this water remind us of our baptism
And let us share in the joy of all who have been baptized at Easter
And who will be baptized today, this easter
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord