Come, fathers and mothers,
come, sisters and brothers,
come, join us in singing the praises of Zion...
It was a blustery October day, three years ago today, and family and friends came from afar, just as if it were a wedding. College friends, whom I hadn't seen in more than ten years, in some instances, gathered the night before in an Italian restaurant. Things went wrong (the pastor who was supposed to give the charge to the congregation got the time wrong, and showed up an hour late... the interim executive presbyter punted, very well, too). But things went so, so, right... The Madrigal Choir, of which I am an erstwhile member, sang two amazing pieces: "Zion's Walls," a folk song setting by Aaron Copland, and "Many Waters" by John Bell, based on a text from the Song of Songs. I will never forget the thrill of the opening piano riff from "Zion's Walls"... the words, "We'll shout and go 'round," the absolute exuberance and hope and joy of that music.
One thing I didn't know at the time of my ordination was that my then-husband had decided to leave me. In fairness, he didn't even know it. We had been in couples counseling for months, he longing for another relationship, me desperately trying to hang on. Later he told me that when he came forward with the rest of the pastors and elders to lay hands on me, a spontaneous prayer had arisen in his heart: "Take care of her." That was when he knew it was over.
It still stands as one of the happiest days of my life.
Many waters cannot quench love,
Neither can the floods drown it...