Authority and Freedom

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 at least a man who [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:44-05:00November 17th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Tentmaker Priest

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 a priest to earn his [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:44-05:00November 3rd, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , |1 Comment

Pastoral Prayer

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, a public acknowledgment of our [...]

Eucharist and Forgetfulness

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 is the sure knowledge that [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:36:21-06:00October 24th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors, Sacraments|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Wearing the Collar

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 is a trial-and-error feel to [...]

By |2020-05-22T14:26:55-05:00October 23rd, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , |7 Comments

Healing and Wholeness

As you are outwardly anointed with this holy oil, so may our heavenly Father grant you the inward anointing of the Holy Spirit.  Of his great mercy, may he forgive you your sins, release you from suffering, and restore you to wholeness and strength.  May he deliver you from all evil, preserve you in all goodness, and bring you to [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:45-05:00October 22nd, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

A Baptismal Affront

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:  a little water, a little [...]

By |2019-01-08T17:34:33-06:00October 21st, 2015|Categories: For Pastors, Sacraments|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

That’s Not the Gospel

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 to make quick and full [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:45-05:00October 20th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Ministry, Not Magic

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 Spirit and signs the elements [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 19th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

First Among Equals?

Just had a profound insight in my seminary class...The insight is this:  I believe in the validity of the ordained priests AND the priesthood of the believer.   The principles are held in tension.   How?   By seeing the ordained priest as merely the first among equals among a congregation  of lay priests.  This is a very different view [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 18th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

A Tale of Two Nursing Homes

Last evening my family stopped by Walgreen's for soft drinks, chips and candy.  Another family -- dear friends -- visited Dollar Tree to purchase a variety of inexpensive gifts.  A few minutes later we met at Peaceful Haven, a local nursing home, one that provides services for those at the lower end of the economic spectrum.  The facility is dated, [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:46-05:00October 17th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Words, Words, Words

In the beginning was the Word. The preachers' dilemma:  words used to communicate the deep mysteries of God are like mallets used for brain surgery -- blunt and clumsy instruments, ill-suited for the task.  Yet, they are what we have in that brief liturgical window allotted the sermon each Sunday.  So, we struggle to make them work, to make them [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:47-05:00October 16th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Speech Acts

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  God spoke and called worlds into being:  "Let there be," God said, and there was, and it was good -- creation by speech act.  A speech act consists of words, and sometimes gestures, which not only express but create that which is expressed. Speech acts are so common, so "ordinary" in [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:47-05:00October 15th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Marriage and Mystery

Tomorrow, in new cassock and surplice and for the first time as priest, I will read the Gospel and lead the matrimonial prayers in The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage.  The couple is young and dear and in love (with Christ and with one another) and is, I feel confident, about as ready for marriage as is humanly possible, [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:36:47-05:00October 14th, 2015|Categories: For Pastors|Tags: , , , |0 Comments
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