We’re pleased to announce that we have convinced Fr. John Roop to move his excellent and thoughtful journal of his first year as a priest to AnglicanPastor. We’ll be running his already published first 13 entries over the next two weeks. Then John will continue to journal his way through the first year of ministry as a priest.
Let me tell you a little about John, and then I’ll share some gems from his journal.
John is a Knoxville, Tennessee native and was a third generation member of the Christian Church, where he served as deacon, elder, and teacher. He and his wife, Clare, were drawn to the Anglican Church by the rhythm of the daily office, the richness of liturgy, and the presence of a sacramental worldview. John was ordained to the priesthood in May 2015. He looks forward to continued ministry at Apostles Anglican Church. John and Clare have one daughter who is currently in college studying secondary science education.
Some excerpts from the First Blessings Journal:
On the Gospel
The Gospel says that we can’t try a little harder and that even if we could it wouldn’t matter. The Gospel says we can’t work at it a little more and that even if we could it wouldn’t change things. The Gospel says that the issue is not myfaith or my faithlessness but the faithfulness of Jesus.
On Knowing What to Pray
How, then, in the moment I am called upon, do I decide what to pray for? I enter again the biblical story – its flow and rhythm and plot – because I know that all true prayer must be formed by the story and must carry the story forward in the lives of individuals and the church. I study – yes, study – the prayer book as a text teaching me how to pray. I pray the Psalms in all their depth and breadth of human longing, exultation, pain, and vengeance. I listen to the heart and words of the one requesting prayer and to the heart and words of the One to whom the prayer will be offered. Between the lines and in the silence between words, the answers are sometimes found.
On Wearing the Collar
In a nominally Christian culture that is, in reality, increasingly secular or pagan, the simple wearing of a collar is a countercultural act of Gospel proclamation. With no words necessary, the collar nonetheless testifies to the mystery of faith: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
On the Grace of Ordination
A priest is a living sacrament through which the Holy Spirit acts to bestow grace on the faithful people of God, and he is a tangible witness to the real presence of Christ in the midst of a fallen world: nothing more, but nothing less. It is ministry, not magic.
On Preaching and Using Words in Ministry
If words are used well, that is, if the Holy Spirit inspires those words, they become verbal icons — windows opening onto the vista of God. Except for those who sell them or wash them, no one looks at windows; we look through them.
On Celebrating Communion
The celebrant moves to the table and stands in the fire of God’s love and grace as the last remnants of self are burned away, stands unworthy to gather up the crumbs under the Table and yet stands invited to serve as host in Jesus’ name. He speaks not his words, but ancient words, received words: prayer and hymn, blessing and invocation, institution and distribution.
Join us, starting tomorrow, as we join the journey of Fr. John in his first year as priest.
Canon Greg Goebel