“The Spirit, the living memory of the church, reminds us that we are born from a gift and that we grow by giving, not by holding on, but by giving of ourselves.”
This Saturday was a very important first for me. I was a Confirmation sponsor. Truth be told, I have been lobbying for years. I dropped subtle and not so subtle hints. I offered predictions of incredibly large, monetary Christmas presents for the savvy niece or nephew who might be able to pick up what I was putting down. For years, not a bite! I tried the pity path a few times, but that just made me less desirable of a candidate to the candidates. It wasn’t until this February that sweet Declan Matthew asked me to be his sponsor and told me that "Peter" would be his name. Beyond the very kind words that Declan offered as to why he asked me, I was surprised at how meaningful it was once the day arrived and I stood tall with my hand on his shoulder in front of the bishop. Of course I believe in the importance of the sacrament, and yes I had been campaigning unsuccessfully for several years. But there was something more to the moment. For months I have felt like I’ve been living slouched over, pushing through the days with my head down trying to get to the next marker or milestone. It wasn’t until someone asked me to stand with them that I felt myself standing up straight for the first time in a long time.
As we stood in line for our picture with the bishop, I couldn’t help but think of the power of invitation. Whether in my leadership role or with my family or friends, how often do I call on others by acknowledging their gifts? Beyond those few formal life events that may require a witness or a sponsor, how often do I thank those daily witnesses and sponsors who show up behind me anytime I call? As one wise bishop recently said to me, "Dan, everyone wants to be someone to someone." Declan’s invitation reminded me I was someone to someone. His simple acknowledgement of something he appreciated in me, made me straighten my back and look up. As we continue our celebration of the Spirit of God working through all of us in the Church still to this day, who can we remind through our invitation that they are someone special to us and someone special to the Lord? Happy Birthday Church!