Authority and Freedom

Posted on November 17, 2015

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom… (A Collect for Peace, BCP 1979, p. 990). A priest is a man under authority, a man who has relinquished the false freedom of autonomy for the perfect freedom of service, or…

Tentmaker Priest

Posted on November 3, 2015

I am a tentmaker priest. I know that the “modern” term is bi-vocational minister, but I prefer tentmaker; it connects me in straight-line fashion to the Apostle Paul and to his free-of-charge Gospel ministry. I do not boast in this as Paul did; I can find no cause to.  It is good and proper for…

Pastoral Prayer

Posted on October 25, 2015

A priest is asked to pray – a lot. Sometimes it is as designated or honorary pray-er, as at a church dinner. “Father N., will you bless the food, please?”  Anyone could do this, of course, but it often falls to the priest.  While it is a token moment, it is also an important one,…

Eucharist and Forgetfulness

Posted on October 24, 2015

The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender’s inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for everyone else the proper pleasure of the rite (C. S. Lewis). One of the greatest of the abundant joys of celebrating the Eucharistic Liturgy…

Wearing the Collar

Posted on October 23, 2015

In my diocese there are no policies, no rubrics, no real guidelines on when and where a priest is to wear the clerical collar.  The decision is informed by a troika of local custom (what your fellow priests do), common sense (church services but not church picnics), and personal preference.  For a  new priest, there…

Healing and Wholeness

Posted on October 22, 2015

A priest spends not a little time in health care facilities – hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living centers, the homes of parishioners – where he is granted the sacred privilege of being welcomed into moments of human weakness and vulnerability.  It is a holy trust, and one that is best approached prayerfully and with great…

A Baptismal Affront

Posted on October 21, 2015

The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ (Article XXVII). For several reasons — Clara and James prominent among them — I’ve been thinking much about baptism lately.  These two beautiful children recently became my sister and brother in Christ:…

That’s Not the Gospel

Posted on October 20, 2015

My parish hosts a monthly Eucharist at a local residential care facility.  This month I offered the following reflections on Mark 9:14-29. Priests spend a fair amount of time in hospitals visiting the sick and praying with them and for them.  Some of those we visit are young and generally very healthy and are expected…

Ministry, Not Magic

Posted on October 19, 2015

So now, Father, we ask you to bless and sanctify, with your Word and Holy Spirit, these gifts of bread and wine, that we may partake of his most blessed Body and Blood. What happens to the bread and wine in and through this prayer of epiclesis, when the priest invokes the Word and Holy…

First Among Equals?

Posted on October 18, 2015

This was recently posted on a social media site; it came to my attention simply because a dear friend and brother commented on it and suggested that my fellow parish priests and I would likely agree.  My true assessment is more nuanced than simple agreement, though.  I, too, recognize the validity of both the ordained…