Just got back from the final championship game of the Mar Elia volleyball tournament. Great fun to watch some really pretty outstanding volleyball, and be mercilessly bugged by children who couldn’t figure out if they wanted to greet me, be on tape, or run screaming in glee every time I turned toward them. You will see all of these out of control little people in the film we’re making, along with me handing out all the trophies to the winners and gold medals to everyone else who participated.
But as awesome as that was, nothing could prepare me for the service in Aramaic (the language Jesus and his friends would have spoken) with Fr. Daniel. First I was invited to read the evening’s Gospel (Jesus and the disciples on the road to Emmaus) in English after Fr. Daniel read it in Aramaic.
Next, I’m sitting there listening to Fr. Daniel preaching in this incredibly beautiful and melodic language I don’t understand a single syllable of, when suddenly I hear the unmistakable word “American” and realize he’s going to ask me to preach. The whole thing was taped by Ravi, my new assistance cameraman, so you will have the chance to see if the Spirit gave me the appropriate words to say, or if I sound like a dip.
But I was really caught off guard when Daniel turns to me after the service and says, “We have a baby to baptize now and would like you to do it.” The next thing I know I’m dipping a naked, screaming baby covered in holy oil in a full immersion baptism, and all these people are just beaming and in a state of delight. Ravi taped this and Daniel will be posting pictures of this on our website so you can see for yourselves.
I have no idea what your version of bliss is, or what just makes you feel that life itself is a gift beyond measure, but to be invited into a moment like that was about it for me. I feel like the luckiest person on earth.
Tomorrow I celebrate the Eucharist with Fr. Douglas.
Right now I can only sleep.
Grace and peace,
(To see more pics, go to the photo album on the Stand With Iraqi Christians Facebook Page.)