Anyway, this has placed me in a new situation: I am now in a liminal state between "eligible for ordination" and "ordained," and it feels somewhat like I thought it might. . . Specifically, it feels very awkward.
This is not a bad thing: these sorts of things are supposed to feel awkward: if they didn't, we would not require rites of passage to move us out of the liminal state. But it is rather indescribable.
To attempt a description, I feel "light," as if I am between responsibilities and expectations. I feel "calm," as if I have come to a clearing in the woods where everything is perfect. I feel "expectant" and "prepared," as if there is something waiting for me, ready to pour in and fill me up.
I've spoken a lot recently about updating the CTP, and one thing that wasn't on my list of recommendations so far (but will be soon) is a waiting period between completing the program and requesting Consecration, Initiation, and/or Ordination. This is primarily for the sanity of our reviewers: nearly everyone who has been through the program has turned their work in and requested consecration/initiation within a couple of days. I'm not pointing fingers: I did it for both consecration and initiation. But after seeing the affect it's had on the reviewing process in general, I see that it's time to slow down some and enforce a time limit. . . and force people to remain liminal for some time.
We've talked about this before, and everyone agrees that it's a good idea. . . possibly because those I've spoken to have been crunched by reviews thrust upon them just before a consecration.
What I find myself wondering is what should fill this liminal space, and all I can think is "Service." But what kind of service? What form does it (or should it) take? I do not know yet. Perhaps each student comes to that understanding on his or her own. It may be right for us to ask of our applicants that they accept a service request from the Clergy Council Officers, a project or disciplinary practice that will prepare them for the work ahead.
Perhaps this is my service: to understand what it is that the service that prepares one for Ordination really is.