Dean Baker’s message from Trinity’s August 26, 2010 enewsletter:
I had just sat down to write this e-news update. I was planning on reporting on the three day conference I went to with 40 positive, energetic clergy. (It was quite good.) I had spend the earlier part of the day trying to get caught up on email and phone messages. The phone rang. It was Sutter General. Victoria, one of Trinity’s very faithful saints, was in the ER and was near death. I gathered a few copies of the “Ministration at the Time of Death” service (aka Last Rites) and oil for anointing and headed out the door. In the ER I was greeted by Richard, Victoria’s husband and one of their sons. I got to see Victoria, this beautiful child of God who had lived and long and faithful life, lying in her bed sleeping. After talking with Richard, we gathered at her bedside. I placed my hand on Victoria’s head. Her eyes opened. I don’t know if she heard us, but Richard and I spoke to her. We then prayed the service. I made the sign of the cross on her forehead and anointed her with oil as I prayed one of the final prayers in the service: Depart, O Christian soul, out of this world; In the name of God the Father Almighty who created you; In the name of Jesus Christ who redeemed you; In the name of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you, May your rest be this day in peace, and your dwelling place in the Paradise of God.
Much of my time as dean is spent in administration. I go to conferences and meetings, answer email, make phone calls and meet with people. Today I got to be a priest — to speak words of God’s abiding and faithful love in a situation of sadness. It is a lovely vocation. And it is one we all share. As Christians we all have the blessed vocation of loving others through difficult times — of being present with them, and reminding them of God’s love, when they are filled with sadness or fear or grief. We are blessed by a love that will never let us go and we are blessed with opportunities to be the incarnation of that love for others. Thank you for sharing this vocation with me.