Thursday, November 22, 2012

the messenger of the Lord of hosts

For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge and people should seek instruction from his mouth for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 

It was pouring rain last night. Even though it had eased off to a steady drizzle by this morning, some of the narrow roads on the way up to one of my more 'mountainy' churches were like rivers. Brisk streams flowed by the sides along some stretches. They flowed shallowly across the road in several others. And, of course, there were dozens of broad brown puddles that had to be crept through in case they disguised a pot-hole the depth of Lough Neagh.

I read Morning Prayer aloud to a church empty save for myself, the presence of the Lord, and the rare species of bats nesting in our rafters. The Old Testament reading was from the prophet Malachi. One verse in particular seemed to speak to me: 

For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge and people should seek instruction from his mouth for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 2.7

There is a lot a priest is expected to do. Sometimes there is the danger of missing what is the core of any priest's calling: the salvation of souls. Words like those from Malachi remind me of that. 

I took a different route home. Less than half an hour had passed, but  the roads were less river-like. Maybe the water had drained away; or perhaps it was only because I was going a different way. I had to drop off a form to a parishioner's house to the get the details for an upcoming baptism. This was a way I hadn't gone before and I impressed myself by not getting lost on the winding, mountain back-roads of my parish. I only hope I can stay on track in other ways too. 

For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge and people should seek instruction from his mouth for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. 


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