Thursday, November 17, 2011

three pearls

Our Gospel reading today asks the question 'who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?' Yesterday I blogged on the importance of the teaching role of the clergy, especially when it came to admonishing. But lest anyone think I believe the clergy are by default 'the greatest', let me list three pearls of wisdom that I picked up on during a visit to an elderly lay person.

During the course of the visit, the person remarked several times  that they liked it when clergy were 'turned out properly'; they don't like it when clergy 'looked like they're ready for a disco.' Clergy should 'wear the uniform' so to speak. Some clergy, I know, don't like to - they see it as dressing up, as trying to stand out. It is not. A uniform, as I know from my time in the military, is intended to identify and anonymize. It is worn with pride, but it is not a sign of pride

The second thing was they thought was that those of faith should stand together. They felt Roman Catholic Church had taken a lot of criticism of late in this country, a lot of which was unfair and opportunistic on the part of those who had a secularist agenda. Where were the voices of leaders from other denominations and faiths showing solidarity or trying to ensure balance in the debate? Why did they keep their heads down? They felt that failure to speak out now was to the disadvantage of all & a failure of our Christian duty.

The third point was raised with me after I had left. Before I went I prayed with the person. Later, I received a phone call from a family member. They wanted to let me know how much it had meant to their relative that I had taken the time to pray with them. They were sick and old and sometimes felt cut off from the Church. Prayer helped them know that they were not.

So that is it. Some words of wisdom from one lay person to one clergy person that is applicable to all clergy. Wear the uniform; show solidarity with other denominations/faiths in times of trouble; and pray with and for your people. Simple things, but advice well worth taking. Amen.

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