Priesthood of All Believers
Really interesting title—huh? I’ m taking a chance that you won’t be so turned off by the title that you’ll hang in there and read a little bit and see why Green Tree theoretically shouldn’t miss a beat while the pastor is away. Of course, we’ll miss Dave and all the work that he does. But if we’re true to our heritage and our understanding of the scriptures, then those of us who are left behind will simply jump in and fill the role that Christ calls us to do.
From its very founding the Church of the Brethren has firmly believed in the priesthood of all believers. What that means is that we are all priests or ministers, if you prefer that word. We believe everyone has the same spiritual relationship with God and that God has called us all to be his ministers.
There is no one in our church who is closer to God than anyone else. Our pastors and our leadership have no more authority in God’s eyes than anyone else–including our young people and children. In our relationships with God, we are equal. Now that is a great thing, but with that equality comes some serious responsibility. As ministers, we are to do the work of outreach to our community: promote peace; seek justice; serve those in need; and draw ever closer spiritually to our Lord and Savior through prayer and studying his Holy Word. This is not just the pastor’s job, it’s everyone’s responsibility. With our pastor on sabbatical, we get a chance to see how good a “priest” we can be.
Frankly, I think we’re in pretty good shape. Green Tree is loaded with outstanding talent in its people. Do you want some examples? Our worship leaders do a phenomenal job in preparing us for worship as exemplified by Theresa Ford’s leadership this past Sunday. She is just one of many. The Property Commission has done wonders in making our sanctuary and grounds a place where you can find God in the midst of a hectic world. Have you seen the rose garden recently? Under Debbie Connor’s leadership, many of you worked long and hard at the Chicken BBQ to help this church. That’s being ministers too. Our “priests” have built homes for Habitat for Humanity. We’ve given blood for those in need. We’ve visited our sick and our shut-ins. We’ve marched to protest gun violence in the city. We’ve spread God’s Good News in Vacation Bible School. Some of our ministers have served in Brethren Volunteer Service or the Peace Corps. Many of our priests have wonderful musical talent that they use to beautify our worship. I could keep going but I think you get the idea. We believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and Savior of us all. When we follow his example, we are not only his children, but also his ministers, every one of us.
So where can this lead? I don’t know for sure, but when Jesus left his disciples to ascend into heaven, He gave them a pretty big job. They believed in Him and as his priests, they began to minister to the world. Two thousand years later, Christianity can be found on every inhabited continent where millions of people worship our Creator and His Son. That’s very good results for twelve average men.
We believe too. As we minister, who knows what can happen? Oaks seems like a very good place to start…