Friday, October 30, 2009

installing Schwally

Billy Budd turned into Captain Marvel by uttering the word, “shazam!” I wish you all the powers that word offers, especially the first two: the wisdom of Solomon and the strength of Hercules. Both of these are necessary, to help your congregants carry the immense burdens with which so many of us humans struggle.

On the television program, “Heroes,” the Japanese character, Hiro Nakamura, has the ability to teleport—-he can travel from place to place, across any distance, in the blink of an eye. I wish for you the ability to teleport, so that you may travel instantaneously from important board and committee meetings to the deathbed of a member to serving at a soup kitchen or demonstrating for justice in Albany.

I also hope for you a similar power, that of time travel, like Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer. If you had the ability to travel through time, you would always have the chance to write one more email, to make one more phone call, to go on one more visit, and still get home to be a good son, brother, uncle and husband.

As long as I am wishing, although I’ve never seen them in any comic book, I would offer you the “superest” of all ministerial powers, the ability to transform human experience: to turn grief into meaning, anger into appropriate action, and fear into hope.

--from the Charge to the Minister for the Rev. Mr. Craig Schwalenberg, at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta, New York; 25 October 2009.


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