This is the second in a series of meditations given to the clergy of the Diocese of Albany. As I read these over I am aware of how easily some of things I say about the priesthood could be misinterpreted. I use words like mediator and intercessor but I mean these things in what I would call a John The Baptist sense, that is that there is a legitmate ministry which must proclaim His coming and then must disappear. This is a work in progress.
The Glory Of The Lord
Glory, kabod in Hebrew, doxa in Greek, here is one of the most important words in all of scripture. The lexicons tell us that the word has to do with weight, heft and also with shimmering light. The word has the sense of power and majesty and even danger and threat. When the lookout put his hand over his forehead and searched the horizon and there saw the shimmering reflection of the desert sun on the spear points and chariot wheels of an approaching army, he would say that he had seen the glory of an army. If it were an enemy army it meant threat and danger, if it were an ally, it meant rescue and salvation. When the people of Israel were encamped before the Red Sea, the lookouts sounded the alarm, “Behold, here comes Pharaoh and all his glory.” Moses stretched out his hand and said, “Behold, the glory of the Lord.”
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This started out as one of a series of meditations on the priesthood given to the clergy of the Diocese Of Albany. I am rewriting and collecting them as a little book tenatively entitled “To Persevere In Love.” I just gave this as a lecture at Trinity Episcopal School For Ministry. Thanks to the dean, faculty and students for the chance to speak with them about a topic that is important to me.
To Persevere In Love
Meditations On the Priesthood
Our talk about ministry and priesthood is oddly imageless, abstract and generic. We speak of ministry, the ministering community, of facilitating gifts, of empowerment, of spirituality for ministry, of the baptismal covenant, of circles rather than pyramids, of mutuality and mutual ministry, of the Roland Allen model, of mission and the missionary church, of reconciliation, inclusion, justice and peace. Less often we talk about the Body of Christ and very seldom or so it seems to me do we hear of Jesus hanging on the cross, appearing after the Resurrection, breathing upon the disciples, Ascending into heaven and there interceding for us as the Great High Priest. What could it mean for the church and all its ministers, lay and ordained, if this image of the Jesus, The Great High Priest were more clearly before us and more carefully developed in our imaginations. So I invite you in what follows to an exercise in imagination.
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This was originally published in a Godly Play newsletter.
The Passion Of Jesus Christ
And The Passion Of Parenthood
The sacrifice of Christ is pondered in endless books and hymns and works of art. It is a “big story” generating much wonder and wondering. There is at least one part of it that I think I understand. I believe that at the heart of the sacrifice of Jesus is the suffering of rejected love, which the saviour meets with an unswerving passion.
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Seal Island is about twelve miles off the southwest coast of Nova Scotia. It has a lighthouse, a bird sanctuary and two hundred fifty sheep. I worked for the man who owned the sheep and we would go out to the island to round up the sheep, shear them and take off the lambs. He liked me to go with him because I could shear sheep reasonably well and because I had a Border Collie Sheep Dog that could swim.
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