There are various names that have been given for the role I play in the church.. Most people call me Pastor Sarah, my grandfather was called The Minister, other churches use Rector. Each of these names have slightly different meanings: shepherd, servant, director. But one most important names for the work I do is Priest.
A priest has two main jobs. First they need to be and stay connected to God. Methodists talk about the means of grace also called works of piety as tools for keeping this connection alive. These include prayer, reading, studying and searching the scriptures, sacraments, holy conferencing. These things are part of my job.
The second job of a priest is to connect other people to God. This requires that the priest make relationships built on love with other people.
Sometimes the relationship is like Legos. Imagine the yellow Lego is God and since I am a redhead the red Lego is me. This is what it looks like if I connect someone to God as a Lego.
But priests are called to connect more than one person at a time. If I move the Legos around like this I can connect more – but as long as connecting is dependent on one priest and we connect like Legos, the connection is rather precarious. The connection may not be very strong. If the priest and another person have a falling out they can easily become disconnected from God.
And if the priest disconnects from God (has her own spiritual crisis) look what can happen. This is also what can happen if a priest moves from one congregation to another.
At Christmas time my daughters got a new toy called Bunchems. They are plastic burrs. Colorful, spherical Velcro. Bunchems show us another way to understand the job of a priest. They illuminate the scripture in Hebrew 7:23-28 that says all Baptized and Confirmed Christians, all disciples of Jesus Christ are called to join the priesthood of all believers.
So imagine the yellow Bunchem is God. And I’m still the red one. My job is to connect with other people and help them to directly connect with God, like this. And the beauty of this is that when these disciples, connect to God by practicing the works of Piety, habitually accessing the means of God's grace directly, can then connect other people to God like this.
This is surely a Methodist way of being church. The early circuit riders connected people to God, helping them to develop their own strong connection through the works of piety. And the class leaders, the lay leaders, the Sunday School teachers were all then able to use their own gifts and graces to be effective members of the priesthood of all believers.
Of course in all denominations the holy catholic Church has always grown better using the Bunchem model. Paul and Silas used it, St. Francis used it. Many of our grandparents used it with us. Or better said, the Holy Spirit used all of them to pass on the a true and vibrant Christian faith. This is how faith spreads.
So if you want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, if you want to contribute to the flourishing of God’s holy church, join the priesthood of all believers. Be a Bunchem!
Pastor Sarah Connected to God
Connecting to someone to God like a Lego
Connecting more people like a Lego