A Call to Priesthood: Pleasing Sacrifice
Isaac Bennet Joshua of Uthamapalayam, Tamil Nadu, India
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. -Hebrews 13:16
Are we ready? I was called to the priesthood office of priest after completing my seminary training. I thought my pastoral ministry in Community of Christ would be more like my academics in seminary. As I began to engage in pastoral ministry by visiting families, offering prayer, and listening to their stories, my life turned upside down.
In India, other Christian denominations often consider priesthood an office of privileged status where the one ordained enjoys all sorts of position, power, and money. But in Community of Christ, priesthood is not about privilege, position, or power. It is more about pleasing sacrifice. In Hebrews 13:16 the phrase “pleasing sacrifice” means “to share,” to become as a sacrifice which would please God.
After the Jewish Diaspora, the Passover sacrifice was celebrated within homes and every house was considered a temple.1 Both Hebrew and Greek translations use a term for “offering” which indicates “moving closer to” or “approaching” God-the one who resides in Sanctuary.
Recently I was called to the office of elder. This time I was fully prepared to face the physical and spiritual challenges. As I reflect on today’s scripture I see that when we are called to priesthood we are called to share our gifts and talents with others. When we are called to priesthood we are not just called to fulfill our responsibilities, we are called to be like Christ, the one who sacrificed himself on the cross to please God. We are called to affirm Christ by sacrificing ourselves through our ecclesiastical service.
Every disciple in Community of Christ should become a sanctuary so that our sacrifice may bring blessings to every individual who is vulnerable. In this way we are witnessing Christ’s solidarity not just with Christians but also with people from all other faiths through our priestly service.
1Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter, Dictionary of New Testament Background, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2000, 1043.
“…all things in God and God in all things” (Mechthild of Magdeburg).
Reflecting on Presence
Breathe deeply and become present to the Presence with you here and now. Take a few moments in the silence to reflect prayerfully on the following questions:
Where have you been aware of God’s presence in your life?
What is God’s invitation to you in this story?
How do you desire to be more open to God’s presence and invitation tomorrow?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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