Friday, January 16, 2009

The power of Lay People

On Tuesday I was blessed with meeting two very powerful lay people here in Omaha. 

One was a parishioner a deacon and I were visiting. The deacon had told me that this parishioner was quite the pray-er, and so I watched for her to pray over our deacon in response to our deacon's prayers over her. I was astounded by the golden words that poured out of her mouth! She prayed that the deacon and I might be see God freshly and be renewed. I can't sum up her prayers, but suffice to say that her words were definitely the words of the Spirit. She definitely has the gift of prayer!

The second was a very learned lay person who work for the church. We had dinner together, and we talked about all sorts of things in the church. She reminded me that she knew she was called to be a lay person. Not something we think about much; God calls us to all sorts of places, but we assume that call is only about ordination. God calls some to monastic life, some to medicine, some to being a diesel mechanic. I'm so glad to see a powerful and committed lay person! 

All of this has slowly worked to disabuse me of any 'high' notion of the clergy. Kind of like the tribe of Levi, they get a handful of gifts and compensation (the authority to absolve, preside at Eucharist and the like) but give up a lot, too. The ministry of the laity is so broad and powerful, and the ministry of the clergy is so narrow. 

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