Sunday's sermon about the visit of the magi suggested that in the gift of frankincense to Jesus we see a reference to his and our calling, like priests censing a chapel to sanctify it and all within it for holy worship, to "help to cleanse the world of evil and bring an air of sacredness to everything and everyone we touch."
It sounded good when I preached it. Still sounds true when I read it now three days later.
But as I navigate rain-wet, slush-bordered streets, careful of neither splashing nor alarming pedestrians tip-toeing tricky sidewalks, and wary of Hamilton drivers seemingly feeling increasingly entitled at delayed-green left turns and now-simply-roll-through right-hand-turns-on-red, I find myself doing something uncommon enough to me to be noticeable.
Another vehicle and mine approach a four-way stop almost simultaneously driving at right angles. I think I stop a second or so before the other driver. It's close enough to be open to debate, but because I am on his right and he on my left, I think I am pretty sure I probably have the right-of-way. I think.
But without hesitating I gently wave him through. The other driver takes the hint. Drives through. And as he crosses the intersection ahead of me, he flashed me two fingers.
Two fingers. Not one. Two fingers in a Peace Sign.
I feel gratified. I also feel as respected and honoured by him as I hope he felt by me.
I'm not a particularly virtuous or charitable driver by habit. This was a whim more than either a habit or an intention.
But I wonder, are whims at least sometimes simply the stirrings of the fetal Spirit within us, longing and labouring always towards new and newer birth within and through us?
The frankincense used by priests to sanctify space and life is the resin -- the oozed-out sap, in effect, of the frankincense tree -- gathered and burned in little bits.
Can it really be that simple ... to be a priest?