25 February 2010

Priests? Really?

Mark has asked me to start posting on the church blog each Thursday. Here is the first go:

I’ve been thinking a lot about becoming a priest lately.

Not in a crisis-of-identity sort of way. After all, my mom always thought I would be a Catholic priest. When someone tells you that, it can be construed as a sort of backhanded complement: you’re pious and sweet, but you may be neither marriable or employable. I’ve proven to be both (somewhat). So that’s settled.

Since Sunday, when Mark challenged us with our identity as God’s priests in the world (1 Peter 2:9; podcast), I’ve been trying to consider what that looks like. No, I don’t mean how weird it might look during our potluck to have everyone wearing clerical collars, but what it might feel like and take to be such a priest.

I think back to my Catholic childhood, full of good priests and not-so-good ones. I try to remember what I thought of in my encounters with the good ones. I think of vows they take: poverty, chastity, & stability. Each of these represent their self-giving and devotion. At their best they present a brilliant witness to both Christ’s way and the life of Christian discipleship. I think of the parish priest who is always available. Who welcomes the outsider. Who is so for people that they understand that God too is for them. I think of the relentless monks at the Abbey where my brother went to school, praying and singing at all hours. I remember the joy and contentment of these set-apart fellows. I remember the grace and appreciation shown to me, the husky, irreverent altar boy, ringing the bells at the wrong times and always forgetting my dress shoes. All these things made these priests accessible, and by extension, made God accessible to me.

Consider with me, in this time leading up to Easter, what it might mean to take up this mantle as priests. What if the Gathering Church continued to grow into a community of priests, being present to both God and our neighbors? Connecting people to God by revealing God’s “rare relentless grace.” What might it look like in our city, if the Good News was proclaimed in and by a handful of holy lives pointing wholly to Christ?

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