Friday, December 26, 2008

To All My Clergy Friends

As I have lounged around like a couch potato, I have neglected to post this note I intended to post yesterday.

I am blessed to count several of you priests and deacons among my friends. I am mindful that you all work your buns off all the time, and especially around this Christmastide to bring the mystery of the Incarnation into our lives.

Dear friends, know that I prayed for you by name in the Christmas Eve service, hoping you would be able to celebrate this season. And now I am praying that you all have some rest and relaxation.

12 Comments:

Blogger Malcolm+ said...

Thank you. For everything.

12/27/2008 1:53 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Lisa, I, too, thought of how hard the clergy work at this time of the year for the rest of us to have our lovely celebrations of the birth of the God Incarnate, and I am grateful, too. Thank you for the post.

12/27/2008 2:24 PM  
Blogger BentonQuest said...

I'm new to your blog, but thanks for the prayers. Sometimes being a clergy, people forget that we are also people and need prayer and support. Thanks!!

12/27/2008 3:51 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I'm with you, Mimi. Too few folks realize what it "costs" our clergy (spiritually, emotionally, and in sheer physical, sleep-deprived exertion) to do what they do -- especially in high seasons like Christmas and Easter.

I sometimes think that "we" impose on our churches all our unfulfilled dreams of what a "Perfect" holiday should be ... and we should not do that.

I was blessed to live for a time (when I was virtually homeless) in a clergy household, so I have seen the zeal, the care, and the exhaustion that often attends clergy in these times.

Malcolm & BentonQuest, the thanks are all mine!

BentonQuest, I am glad you've begun visiting here. Thank you.

12/27/2008 8:14 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, Lisa. Yes, the work is hard and the pay is lousy but it's the work I'm called to do and I confess, I love it. I can't imagine doing anything else. Thanks for your prayers.

12/27/2008 9:34 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

They're offered fervently, Elizabeth.

Every now and then, people in the parish here suggest I should be pursue ordination. NO WAY I could do what you all do!

12/27/2008 10:49 PM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

I really have no idea, from this distance, whether or not you should pursue ordination. But I do know that we clergy are a folly without the order of the laity.

I am sure I speak for all my clerical brothers and sisters when I say that we are sustained by the faithfulness of engaged laypersons like you.

Besides, can you imagine how tedious the Anglican blogwars would be without the sensible insights of laybloggers like you, Grandmére and the rest? Were it all clergy, I`m sure we'd end up with a critical mass of pomposity and the entire interweb would implode upon itself.

12/28/2008 2:05 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I'm grateful for your attitude, Malcolm.

Despite the questions I get, I usually don't believe I am called to ordained ministry. If anything, I believe I am called to serve at the altar. The happiest, fullest moments of my days and weeks are when I am serving as crucifer (and assisting the priest at the altar) or as subdeacon (when the Bishop visits). But our parish uses the young people as acolytes, except when they're too busy and I get tapped. And we only have a subdeacon when the bishop visits. So ... I yearn for a liturgical ministry, but I don't get to exercise it very often. :(

And -- now that you're challenging me to think a bit more seriously about all this -- I also think I have a ministry to support the clergy. I've done this pretty much since the Episcopal Church rescued my hopeless self. I am awe of the priestly vocation in one way; but I also see it as my "ministry" to try to uphold them in their ministry -- whether that means offering encouragement and prayers or trying so speak honestly to the priests I know in person.

Your comment about pomposity and implosion made me laugh! I do hope it's clear that I respect the ministry of the clergy. Heck! I'm often in awe of it.

But your remark also reminds me of a conversation I had a couple of years ago with a dear friend who is a priest, when I was wrestling with whether I have a vocation to the priesthood. At a certain point, he blurted out, with a bit of incredulity: "Why would you give up all the power you have now??" I had never thought about it that way. I am happy to say that I respect and love my bishop. In fact, sometimes, I run my blogposts by him, seeking his counsel. And -- so far -- I have always taken his advice. But I don't have to. I am not "under orders." My only vows now are those in my baptismal covenant. That would change radically if I were to pursue ordination.

So I am mostly grateful to be a Free-Lancer for Christ at this point.

Malcolm+, you probably didn't intend for your comment to lead me to this verbose pondering, but I thank you for it.

12/28/2008 3:28 PM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

So, I have to tell a story.

At an episcopal election about 20 years ago, as one of the juniors, I was tasked as the secretary to the balloting committee. The Executive Archdeacon came to a preparatory meeting and asked that I advise him once a candidate had been elected. The chair pointed out that the committee could only report to the bishop presiding.

What follows is the conversation from that point.

Executive Archdeacon (quoting King James II - and with a twinkle in his eye): "Do you not know that I am above the law?"

Malcolm+ (quoting Hooker): "He that goeth about to persuade a multitude that they are not so well governed as they might be shall never want for attentive and favourable hearers."

EA: Father, I don't know what Gilbert and Sullivan operetta you got that from . . .

M+: Father! That was the opening sentence of Hooker's "On the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity."

EA: Father, I always preferred Aquinas.

Chair: Well, Father, then quote us the opening line.

The Executive Archdeacon was, for the first and last time in his life, rendered speechless.

You see, I really meant that thing about pomposity. ;-)

12/28/2008 10:42 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Fr. Malcolm, Mother Elizabeth is pompously impressed.

12/29/2008 10:26 PM  
Blogger Malcolm+ said...

In my general experience, that story elicits comprehending nods from clergy - and eye-glazing puzzlement from the far more sensible laity.

I note in my defence that I'd have been a mere youngster in my 20s. The Executive Archdeacon had no such excuse.

12/29/2008 10:44 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I love your story, Malcolm -- and it didn't leave me puzzled in the least. It made me LOL! ... I do know how the pomposity can grow. Thanks for telling your story here.

12/29/2008 11:10 PM  

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