Something for the
An anonymous 14th century
English Christian mystic wrote what has come to be known
as The Cloud of Unknowing
. It seems that his/her insights into Christian spiritual formation
deeply touched many other major Christian figures in the next couple
of centuries, including Thomas a Kempis and John of the Cross. A
good and helpful translation is edited by William Johnston (Image Books;
Founded in 1928, Hope International University will
celebrate its 85th commencement on May 17. The May 2008
graduates come from a student body of more than one
thousand students drawn from 27 states and over 40
countries. These individuals join over 4,000 graduates
and more than 10,000 former students who carry Hope
International University's legacy of service and
ministry to the church and society. The commencement
speaker will be Del Harris.
Reformation principle of 'the priesthood of all
believers' ... teaches us that 'the plow boy and the milk
maid' can do priestly work.
But even more profoundly
it teaches us that the plow boy in
his plowing and the milk maid in her
milking are in fact doing priestly work."
Richard Foster, Streams of Living Water,
debate over women in ministry, the practice of only
clergy baptizing converts, and the inordinate reverence
attributed to the ordained, generally ignores the
priesthood of all believers. Gender struggles, class
distinctions, and specialist ministries create strange
complications for this simple kingdom
than that, misunderstanding our vocation-our
calling-robs us of the rich life Christ intended.
Whoever submits to the Lordship of Christ and commits
themself by faith to Him has a priestly
folk who officiate at our worship services and read
Scripture at weddings and funerals play a valuable role
among us. But if we insist that they alone are
"ministers" or "priests" we deny our privilege and
neglect our responsibility.
implications reach far beyond this short reflection, but
I suggest at least the following few points to
the priesthood of all believers-biblically speaking-has
no hierarchy among the believers and no distinctions
between young and old, male and female, race, class, or
the world is our sanctuary for ministry-not a building
on Third and Main Streets that we open on Sunday
it's not that we sometimes do priestly things (pray,
preach, or pastor) but everything we do becomes sacred.
Whether we're balancing budgets for large corporations
or babysitting the neighbor's kids, cooking meals or
manufacturing ball-bearings-whatever we do in word or
deed is now done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
every one of us, at all times, in all places, with all
people, function as priests. This is the dream of God.
"And I shall make them a kingdom of priests." (Exodus
19:6; Revelation 1:6; 5:10) That means we constantly
highlight the Presence of Christ among us, our hope of
1:27) Just as the ancient Jewish priests gathered around
the Holy of Holies and helped the people connect with
God, so do we, whether we're driving trucks, tutoring
school children, or selling
are priests in our work and
as we work.
If we can grasp the glorious significance of this truth,
it will dramatically change our view of ourselves and
those around us. The Lord has not called us to
occasional sacred tasks. Instead, He desires to sanctify
every task in our lives, from writing to wood-working,
from plumbing to praying.
artificial barriers between paid and unpaid
kingdom-servants hinders our appropriation of this
truth. Every follower of Christ brings the holy place to
the world. May
we do so more this week and grow in this