Priest as Pal – From the Daily Office Lectionary

From the OT lesson for Friday in the week of Trinity Sunday
Deuteronomy 26
1 When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it,
2 you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name.
3 You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, “Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.”

Moses today gives us a different metaphor or two for the priesthood. He begins with the picture of priest-as-produce-manager, the receiver of baskets of fruits, grains, and vegetables which are to be placed before the altar of the Lord. Today’s pericope then ends with the priest-as-party-planner: “Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate….” (v 11) ~ I must say that these are more inviting roles than those that American Christianity has assigned the clergy: priest as principal prayer, priest as preacher, priest as pastor, priest as purveyor of religious solemnity. I get so dreadfully bored with all the seriousness put on the modern priesthood. ~ I visited a lady in the hospital this week. I was with her for about 45 minutes. She’s not a parishioner; she lives in another town and goes to another church and has another pastor. Thank God! She’s just an old friend and we spent most of our time laughing. She didn’t expect me to pray with her; she didn’t ask for an anointing; she didn’t share her diagnosis, prognosis, fears, or hopes; she just shared her friendship! It was a refreshing experience: priest as pal. It would be so nice if that happened more often.

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