St. Thomas à Becket, Morgantown,
May 2020

The Prophethood of All Believers?

pic2Dear Parish Family,

The Lord be with you! In these difficult times, let us continue to be in prayer for one another as we seek to be God's people for our community.

A few weeks ago in one of these emails, we reflected on the topic of the “Priesthood of All Believers” from our lectionary readings. As we approach the Feast of Pentecost during this pandemic, I’m thinking about the reading from the book of Numbers (chapter 11, verses 24-30) where Moses rebukes some jealous exclusivists, who were upset that the Spirit had come upon many elders, by saying “Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put God’s spirit on them!” It seems to me that Moses seems to be hoping for what we might call a “Prophethood of All Believers.”

We’ll go further into what this might mean in Sunday’s sermon, but once again during this time I think it’s extra valuable and relevant to focus on these texts that invite the whole community of God’s people into equal labor and value in the work of God in the world. As a parish priest, I have unique responsibilities and gifts in service (as we see described in Sunday’s Epistle reading), but my calling is to build up and equip the community for their own responsibilities and gifts—not to stand in their stead. In this way, the calling of prophet may be seen as more central to the mission of Jesus himself, as the Gospels (particularly in Luke) suggest, than that of priest. And as we all hear his invitation to follow him, we see that the mantle of the prophet is ours to claim and live into as well.

And so as we gather remotely once again on Sunday, safely separate physically yet united in the Spirit which knows no barriers, let us do so with eager anticipation as well as holy awe to be renewed, strengthened, and challenged to not only be God’s hands but also God’s voice in the world around us.

Grace and peace be always with you,

Fr. John

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