Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why I kiss my stole

From The Christian Century-

As I vested for worship on a recent Sunday, a parishioner noticed me kissing my stole before I put it on. “I like that you do that,” she said, to my brief and unexpected embarrassment. I’ve made this small gesture every time I’ve vested since my ordination, but no one had ever prompted me to reflect on it before.

Augustine says that habit unresisted becomes compulsion. This maxim rings true with my experience of bad habits, but I’d never thought of it in terms of pious ones. My parishioner’s comment made me realize that kissing my stole has long since sunk from a distinct act into a habit—and may now be a compulsion.

“I guess it reminds me,” I told her.

I was apprenticed in ministry for a long time, even by Lutheran standards. I watched a lot of clergy vest. When I was young, the chance sight of a dear family friend—a Methodist elder and northern Wisconsin politician—preparing to preside at my cousin’s wedding prompted an early hint at a vocation. Stiff with diabetes, he braced himself against the hallway wall while his wife helped him into his alb. Together they composed a picture of stubborn dedication.

More here-


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