We had our graduation last night for our 2nd year ministry interns. They’ve been with us for a two year journey of discernment and formation, following on from theological study and plenty more discernment.
To mark the end of this chapter, I wrote a simple liturgy. It wove in themes we had been working through and thinking over during the block course: trinitarian theology, language for God that goes beyond the masculine and the personal, as well as reflecting an ongoing commitment to integrating Maori language and worldview in a meaningful way.
We moved into a large, concrete stairwell, with a year one intern standing alongside each year two. Taking it in turns, the first years presented each second year with a smooth stone, a candle and a feather, and spoke these words over them:
May God be your rock, your turangawaewae (Te Reo Maori meaning ‘place to stand’).
May Jesus be your friend, a light-bearer in dark places.
May the Spirit hover over you, and teach you to fly.
Then we sang a blessing over them, based on the Maori proverb, ‘Ma te huruhuru, ka rere te manu’ meaning, ‘adorn the bird with feathers, so it may fly.’
As we sang, staff members above let feathers float down the centre of the stairwell – representing the Spirit’s presence with us and around us. It was beautiful.