I have to laugh at the above image, because of the truthfulness of it. I might resemble that remark too often. In the last post, I offered you a video of the hymn, "Called as Partners in Christ's Service". This could be considered one of the theme songs or anthems of the Priesthood of All Believers. For some the word, "Priest" is a heavy and even hurt-filled word. It is not a word that would claim as part of who they are.
What images dance in your imagination when you hear the word, "Priest"?
How about "Pastor"?
How about "Minister"?
How about "Teacher"?
How about "Companion on the Way"?
How about Soul Friend...which John O'Donohue says in the Celtic Tradition is the word, "Anam Cara". He writes, "Real friendship or love is not manufactured or achieved by an act of will or intention. Friendship is always an act of recognition." When the soul within me connects with the soul in you. Soul being our fullest, holistic, authentic part...bearing God's fingerprints...made from the same DNA as star dust.
Okay...perhaps now it is really obvious which of the above I prefer.
We need soul friends in a world of surface level Facebook posts and short tweets. We need soul friends in a world where we don't live anywhere near family and friendships can be strained over differences in politics or religion or race or creeds. We need soul friends in a world that moves at a frenzied pace and where there is always "breaking news" coming from somewhere. Look at the second and third verses of "Called as Partners in Christ's Service."
2. Christ's example, Christ's inspiring,
Christ's clear call to work and worth,
Let us follow, never faltering,
Reconciling folk on earth.
Men and women, richer, poorer,
All God's people, young and old,
Blending human skills together
Gracious gifts from God unfold.
3. Thus new patterns for Christ's mission,
In a small or global sense,
Help us bear each other's burdens,
Breaking down each wall or fence.
Words of comfort, words of vision,
Words of challenge, said with care,
Bring new power and strength for action,
Make us colleagues, free and fair.
Christ's example was to call disciples, soul friends. Christ's example was to reconcile the difference that too often kept people apart. Christ's example was to see all people as God's beloved. But there is a new pattern for such a time as this. The world today, while there are still echoes of the world in which Jesus lived, is different. The walls and fences are real. We need words of comfort to sooth our souls. We need words of vision that evoke and awaken what it really means to live in God's realm. We need words of challenge because the work we are called to is not easy. But it is work with courage and conviction and more than a trace of God's grace we can act in faithful ways. We won't always get it right...but sometimes we learn more by doing it wrong. Although I often wish in ministry that wasn't so true!!
Keep letting this hymn sing to your soul and speak to your life in these days.
Grace and peace ~~