Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Avoid Becoming the Pastor you Swore You'd Never Be - Part III

From the Book, The Unoffical United Methodist Handbook for Pastors. p. 23-24
"You are priest. ("Faithfully administering the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion; by leading the people of God in worship and prayer...")  Ever since God set apart Aaron and  his sons to be priests (Exodus 28:1), the people of God have understood that God calls some men and women to a representative ministry from the priesthood of all believers.  It is like what happens at Christmas when the entire family receives a gift but asks one member of the family to open it.  Sacraments are finally about the work of God.DON'T·         Think you are especially pure and holy because you have sacramental authority.  Robes and albs and stoles do not make you better than anyone else; they are sings of what God is trying to do through you. (LOVE THIS!!)
·         Hesitate to offer prayers in homes, hospitals, highways, hedges, helicopters, headquarters (and even places that don't begin with 'h').  It is better to leave a situation mumbling to yourself, 'I wish I had not prayed aloud' than to leave saying, 'I wish I had prayed aloud.'
DO·         Find times when you can worship and receive the Eucharist under someone else's priesthood.
·         Make the sacraments life regularly (John Wesley said 'constantly') available to your people."
The greatest joy I have in ministry is the gift of sacramental authority.  It is a privileged to lead and offer up the sacraments to the people of God.  John Wesley saw these as a means of grace or a real and tangible place we come in contact with God.  What an honor and joy it is to share real ways people can be in contact with God.

Every time I give communion to my kids and my wife I kiss them on the forehead.  It is funny to watch the person behind my wife look at me with fearful eyes that say, "Are you going to KISS me too?"  I kiss them because I find that the sacrament is the most intimate moment we share.  Yes, even more intimate than other husband and wife things.  It is intimate because in that moment I am offering them the body and blood of Christ.  I have been almost knocked over by the Holy Spirit twice, each time is when I placed water on my son and my daughter's head and then choked out the words, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit."  Those are intimate moments, wonderful moments, spiritual moments, JOYFUL moments!

To all clergy out there, never lose the ability to be fully present in the moment you pass out the body and blood of Christ or place water on the heads of God's children.  God is in those moments and we should always be aware of that.  "Robes and albs and stoles do not make you better than anyone else; they are sings of what God is trying to do through you."

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