Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blessing the Archbishop

Today Rowan Williams came to meet the Chaplaincy team. We’d been having a Bible study and sharing some of the prayers we’ve written for some of the liturgies in the next few days for which we are to lead the intercessions. At about 11:30 Rowan came into the room and we all scrambled to our feet.

He isn’t as tall as I thought he’d be, and his face was completely animated: his eyes made contact with each of us as we were introduced and he smiled and said something to each of us. I could barely squeak out “Hello Archbishop.” After meeting us, we presented him with gifts from the Solomon Islands and Tanzania. Then Br. Sam asked if we could offer a blessing for him. He nodded and looked at all of us “I’d like that very much,” he said. He sank to his knees and we all knelt around him. The Head Brother, George Siosi, offered the traditional Melanesian Brotherhood blessing they give to a brother before he goes out on mission. (The Archbishop is a Companion of The Melanesian Brotherhood.) Then the group sang the litany of the saints.

Feeling tears stinging my eyes, I looked up and noticed tears streaming down the face of every face I could see.

It was a moment of great holiness, and deep connection. I believe it was a moment graced by and filled with the Holy Spirit. Who knows what the next few days and weeks hold for us?

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