Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Being collared - knowing your place (1)

Here's what will be the first in a series of many regarding exactly what it means to have the ring of confidence*, that is the dogcollar, around your neck.

Those who visit cathedrals on a Maundy Thursday are often quite affected by what one of the called the 'last man standing' show that is the celebration of our calling. For those who have never been it goes like this:

Everyone stands - and because we all have that baptismal calling that marks us as Christ's and call us to live as strangers in this world rather than of it we pray for all the people of God. We celebrate the callings everyone present has and having prayer for laos (God's people) they sit.

Now we pray for those who are deacons (diakonos), those who are called to serve the Church to equip the people in it to make Christ better known and serve them in humility - this is the 'foot washing' role, the waiting at tables that frees the priests for higher things - and having given thanks for them, they sit.

Tine to pray for the priests (Presbyteros), those people who are called to 'lead God's people in the offering of praise and the proclamation of the Gospel'. The Shepherds of the flock who teach the word and minister the sacraments - and having given thanks for this bunch, they also sit.

Leaving the bishops, those called to be the guardians of the faith, to shepherd the shepherds and to lead the Church in mission and to be a cohesive and enabling force for the people under their care and to work in unity with the other bishops to bring about a consistent family.

Were there any Archbishops (we have two - Justin and John) then I guess the bishops would sit and we'd all celebrate the über pointyhats and the cohesive and unifying force that they are. They are the national voice of the church what we belong to and are the place for spiritual, practical and media directiveness (a word I found in an American article recently that need to be used once then burned).

So there we have it - a quick explanation of the structure of ministry within the Church of England.
Tomorrow (if time permits) we'll have a look at what it means to have been collared and what you can, can't, should and shouldn't do if you are.

So there you have it - last man standing is, could there be any doubt, Justin Welby. But now you have (I hope) a better understanding of the base roles and positions of the people around you.

And the best bit - regardless of who you are, if you're a believer then you are laos and that's ALL of us. The other jobs are just added

Can't get better than that - can you?

* Confidence because those who wear them are (supposed to be) called, tried, tested and approved and submissive to the word of God and the people placed in authority above them and have an integrity when it comes to teaching, believing and living according to Scripture. (note the 'supposed')

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