An anniversary

28 11 2009

Ten years ago today, I was ordained a priest.

Currently there is not much in my day-to-day life that looks especially “priestly”.  I may not have worn my alb and stole at all so far this year.  I don’t think I’ve presided at the Eucharist.  I may have worn a “clerical shirt”/dog collar once or twice.

It isn’t what I would have imagined being a priest would be like.  For the first few years of being a priest I would have worn vestments and presided at the Eucharist most every week.  Even when I began at the university four and a half years ago, I thought that there would be weekly Eucharist and other places where my “priestly ministry” would be expressed more formally.  (And for a time there was).

My bishop probably gives the same talk to all ordinands.  A priest, he tells you, is someone who has “time for you”.  He talks about the importance of having time, of not being busy; of being on the side of the poor and marginalised, the broken-hearted, the widow and orphan (for); and of seeing people in their particularity, of seeing them as beloved of God (you).  At least that’s how I remember the talk.

It’s easy to be sucked into busy-ness.  To feel the need to be productive.  Anyone who’s seen me in the last couple of weeks wouldn’t have got the sense that I was a person with “time for you”.  Nor time for anything but crossing off lists and getting things done.  I’ve all but forgotten my vocation.

For me, being a priest is about resisting the urge to be “useful” and “productive”.  It is attempting to live as if I know that humans are of value by virtue of their being rather than their doing.  And offering that recognition to everyone I come into contact with.  Beloved of God.  Human being.

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5 responses

28 11 2009
cheryl

well done you! and the church for recognising how you best can be you… so very glad to have met you this year.

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28 11 2009
clare

Thanks for such an accurate description of what it is to be priest/minister…
Do hope that benedict and rowan have access to your blog….

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29 11 2009
Paul Fromont

Congratulations Jemma. I warm to the Bishops counsel…

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29 11 2009
Jill

Congrats! I too have an anniversary this week. A good time to stop and think, review, sigh and give thanks. I’m back. Let’s catch up soon. Meet ya halfway?

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3 12 2009
Graham

Thank you so much, it will be 10 years since my ordination next year and I resonate with so much that you said. Blessings.

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