How are You called?
Christ’s is a priesthood of love marked by nails, spear, and thorns, and whose vestments are apron and towel. As followers of Jesus, we know who we are and whose we are best when we are wearing apron and towel, carrying jug and basin. This is the priesthood to which Jesus was called. Can it be any less for us?
-Br. James Koester Society of Saint John the Evangelist
The concept of universal priesthood puts forth the doctrine that all baptized Christians are priests in the sight of God. It is a foundational concept of Protestantism and is often referred to as "the priesthood of all believers." The Bible passage considered to be the basis of this belief is the First Epistle of Peter, 2:9:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
We are all called, and one of the beautiful aspects of a community of believers is when we observe each other hearing that call and responding to it. How is God calling you to be a priest in your world, "proclaiming the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light?" What are your "apron and towel, your jug and basin?"
Every Sunday after we have celebrated the Holy Eucharist, we end the service praying:
Send us now into the world in peace,
and grant us strength and courage
to love and serve you
with gladness and singleness of heart;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Maybe today would be a good time to listen to how God is calling us to be a part of the priesthood of all believers, where is God calling us to proclaim God's mighty acts, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, invite the stranger, visit the prisoner? When we serve God's people, we serve God and we are doing the work of the royal priesthood! And as Brother James says above, we know who we are and whose we are best when we are doing this work.
PS. The picture above is one of John August Swanson's collection. I am grieving his recent death and will be talking about him here in the days and weeks to come.