The mysterious PostScript (who on earth are ye??), asked something insightful in relation to yesterday’s post:
Random question…If the church is a community of priests, for whom is it interceding?
My first response is “the world!”
Of course, I’m not a Hebrew or Greek scholar (unlike my interlocutor, whose identity is actually not mysterious to me), nor am I versed enough in a religious-socio-historical account of the development of ‘priesthood’ concepts globally. But my gut instinct is that when people say ‘priest’ they mean ‘ministering,’ in a deep, true sense of the word. And this could be directed in, oh, any and all of four ways–ministering unto God, Godself; ministering unto one another, ministering on behalf of humanity, and indeed, creation and the cosmos.
The question takes on even more compelling twists in a “Jesusian” context as the author of Hebrews seems to invert certain commonly-held priesthood concepts. I’m not sure if the other New Testament authors follow suit in a similar way, but for all there seems to be an emphasis on Jesus as the High Priest (fulfilling and completing a certain epoch of God’s dealing with the cosmos and humanity), and us as a ‘kingdom of priests’…or are we?
Some, such as my friend Kevin, add another tantalizing idea into the mix: What if the priesthood, the ecclesia, as “called out” ones, were called out for an important but limited season in the first century: As a first-fruits signifying the whole harvest, or as some fore-running yeast giving rise to an entire loaf of Reality? In other words, what if now in the 21st century, the need for any priesthood has ceased as those in century one “made up for what was lacking” in Christ’s priestly sacrifice?
It is a strong possibility, methinks, though I’m well aware that there are many involved in the front lines of justice work who would beg to differ, saying that we still need a cadre of wounded healers–mediators, reconcilers, indeed, priests–today. And if this is the case, I hope we’re part of the healing balm rather than part of the problem.
I’d love for people representing different perspectives on this potentially-urgent matter of the nature and duration of priesthood to feel free and jump in. Share your wisdom!
Update/Note: Andrew Tatum has written a reprise clarifying some of this thoughts re: clergy.