“God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere….Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful…” (1 Corinthians 12:4,7, The Message).
It is “mailing day” here at our offices: Friday, November 19, the week before Thanksgiving. Today we are mailing the Fellow Workers. I have taken a break from the happy clutter of our mailing room (which doubles as our prayer room, and lunch room, and executive board room), to return to my desk and draft these few lines for the Newsletter.
It is a happy clutter indeed. Some twenty mailers participate today, each with something to share. Many have brought cake or cookies. Others have brought a fresh story or prayer request. The youngest mailer is 22. The oldest has just celebrated his 86th birthday.
I am impressed with the priestliness of our mailers. One tells of a poignant funeral she attended recently. But, she assures us with priestly aplomb, the ceremony pointed clearly to the hope we share in Jesus. Another has just heard from one of our missionary families in Kenya: they are ill with fever. Soon the priest leads in prayer on their behalf. Another shares a song she has recently learned. After mid-morning coffee, she leads us in it, and we share a Bible verse and pray. We are priests to one another. We point one another to Jesus.
Mailing day, believe it or not, is a sacramental day for us. At one level our activity is pretty pedestrian: we “tab” and label, bundle and post magazines. But at another level we experience something extraordinary. We share grace with one another. And it is not because we are extraordinary people. It is because we are part of an extraordinary story. We discover that God is making a grace-filled, Kingdom-building story in us and through us. Each one contributes some few lines while God weaves out the plot. We have no bishops’ sanction. We have not been ordained to the task, except through our baptism. We are the priesthood of all believers at work: the wonderful array of volunteers who make the Prayer League go. We are “the League” – in league with one another, and together in league with God.
Our Handbook pledges us to “to afford an opportunity for ordinary lay people to put aside their regular…work and to take a personal, active part in…spreading the Good News of salvation” (¶66).
Really, it is a pledge to affirm the priest in one another. Everyone gets in on it. And everyone benefits.