Last Sunday we blessed and sent a couple from Zion off to Canada for pastoral internship. We made them promises and prayed and anointed their foreheads with oil.
After worship, three more came and asked to be marked with the sign of the cross. They carried grief, regrets, enthusiasm, and nervous energy. They asked to be marked because of these things.
I don't take these moments for granted. I get to stare deep into people's eyes as I declare promises much bigger than either of us. And, while I'm shouting, they are staring back at me. They are soaking up the words and the grace and the trust we share because of the Pastor in front of my name. It is lovely, transforming work.
Tove is toddling around now. She is covered in lasagna sauce and hiding in cupboards and shouting across the house for her sister when they get separated by a few rooms. Tove is wild and sneaky and full of good ideas. She makes this face that shows her humor and determination in the form of big lips. I just love it.
Every night at 9:30pm she starts to cry. I creep up the stairs quietly and find her sitting up (still sleeping) in the middle of her crib. I hold her against my chest and whisper in her ear, "This is not a nap. This is nighttime. You're not missing anything." Then I kiss her cheek and she kisses my neck. She is peaceful and cuddly, so I continue to meet her in these moments. Tove is usually busy being goofy during the day and snuggles are rare.
Something about our moment and my words anoint her for the night. Tove's fear of missing out and the day's energy fade away as she relaxes into my body. And then I put her back down, still asleep until dawn.
There is great power and privilege in my roles and words. I get to say so many things with confidence (even when I am not confident) because these gifts or truths do not belong to me. But I do get to share them. I am entrusted with a voice and arms and eyes.
I am made for naming and anointing, holding and releasing. And for that I am grateful.