On Pentecost Sunday, the Birthday of the Church, we welcomed five, yes, FIVE people into the body of Christ through the sacrament of Baptism. Picking a favorite moment of the Baptism service is basically impossible, because it is all wonderful. However, I will say that one of my favorite parts is when the congregation welcomes the newly baptized by proclaiming:
“We receive you into the household of God. Confess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection, and share with us in his eternal priesthood.”BCP P. 308
Share with us in his eternal priesthood.
Baptism is also a mini-ordination service. Through our own baptisms all of us are called to share in Christ’s own priesthood. One of the main jobs of your clergy is to remind the congregation that we are all called to the work of evangelism, pastoral care, outreach, worship, service, church leadership, etc. Our individual callings look different; how that calling gets worked out in our everyday lives will vary. Yet the call to be priestly, to share in Jesus’ ministry, remains consistent.
I was reminded of this at a recent lunch meeting with 3 wonderful Saints. We were chatting about pastoral care and making sure we can respond to the needs of our parish when our clergy are away. I was blown away by hearing the stories of these incredible women who have devoted their lives to the very priestly ministries of hospice care, Stephen Ministry, and advocacy of every type. They have shone the light of Christ to thousands of families in times of acute and chronic crises. They have mediated the grace and love of God to those most in need of the Good News. They don’t need to wear collars to live into the priestly vocation God gave to them through their baptisms.
May all of us remember that we are called to share in Christ’s eternal priesthood, and may the Holy Spirit continue to guide us as we seek to share the Good News of Christ.