Royal Priesthood

Rev. Cliff WarnerCliffNotes

Last Sunday I preached on a biblical vision of work, in which I read Calvin Seerveld’s beautiful description of his father, a fishmoner on Long Island. At one point Calvin called his father a “prophet, priest and king” in the fish business. That’s exactly what he was; and it’s what you are in your vocational arena.

Just this week I read After You Believe, where I came upon N. T. Wright’s articulate explanation of the biblical background for this very concept. In the garden, humanity was given the royal charge to reign over creation, to represent God through our loving rule in His world. That’s our mission. We are also called a “kingdom of priests,” who represent the gathered praises of all creation and present them to God. That’s our worship. In Peter’s epistle he calls us a “royal priesthood,” combining the two. And of course, we are prophets every time we are messengers of God’s truth. Our vocations in this world are no less than the high calling of “royal priesthood” as fishmongers, teachers, programmers and all manner of mental and manual laborers.

I leave you with a reflection on prayer, by the prophet, priest and king G. K. Chesterton: “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink. “

Prophet, priest and king,