Ministry: The world’s easiest job

 

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The woman looked up from her desk in the apartment rental office and asked, “So you are a pastor? A priest?” This did not take clairvoyance on her part. I was wearing a clerical collar. She followed up the question with what I suspect many think but are too polite to say out loud: “That sounds like a cake job. You preach a little message and do a little communion – full-time pay for what, like a 4 hour work week?”

Here is what I have done in the four hours since my four hour a week job was “over”:

  • Had a conversation with a staff member about stepping up their job performance
  • Drove 23 miles to feed the dog of a person in a psych ward
  • Did behind the scenes warming up of board members for future conversations about leadership expectations
  • Provided emotional support to a woman choosing not to treat her reoccurring cancer
  • Talked to a parishioner in jail
  • Supported our children’s workers by lovingly suspending a child from church for a pattern of behaving badly
  • Led a board meeting in which I had to communicate bad news and then help people remain confident in the face of it
  • Anointed a teenager in the hospital who has been shot in the head and prayed with his mom

Don’t misunderstand me, ministry is a fantastic gig. But an easy one? Not so much.

Good thing this is only part-time. People might start having expectations.

What’s a priest for?

Priest.001In the St. Jude’s Church series on the 39 Articles we come this Sunday to Article 23 – Clergy don’t self-anoint. It is an opportunity to talk about the historic vision of the Church as the gathering of the Body of Christ, and the role of clergy to call Christ’s Bride to worship and holiness of life. And, having worshipped through Word and Sacrament, for the Church to be propelled back into the world for the extension of God’s Kingdom.  Priests pray, teach, offer the Sacraments, preach, declare God’s pardon, bless and console. In short, a priest is to point the people to the Priest: the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-5:4, 10:11-12).

I have the privilege of preaching the next three Sundays. We will move on from the role of clergy to consider the corporate spiritual practices of Baptism and Holy Communion.

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