We all know that Jesus is Priest, Prophet and King. Right? And we all know that through our baptism we share in the life of Christ. Right? So, we are Priests, Prophets and Kings. Right? Wait. What? Run that by me again!?!
That was my reaction when I looked at the retreat we were giving to our adult volunteers in our youth program. I always understood that Christ is Priest, Prophet and King. I always understood that I share in his life through baptism into the Body of Christ. But I never connected those dots. I didn’t realize that I share in these specific roles as Priest, Prophet and King.
Priest isn’t a hard one for me. Although I am not a man and I am not called to a consecrated religious vocation, I can see how I share in this role, especially as a youth minister, and mother. At Baptism and confirmation, we are anointed as Priests and given the Holy Spirit who lives in us and commissions us to bring about the kingdom of God. As Priests, we are called to sacrifice for the good of others so that Christ may live through us. We are called to consecrate the world to God. My world is my kids and my community. So, that is what I do- sacrifice for them, invite them to Christ’s Kingdom, and consecrate them to God. I don’t do it perfectly all the time, but I’m doing it. This role is one I think I fall into naturally and comfortably.
The role of prophet is one that I have only embraced recently. You see, I struggle with the idea that God actually reveals things to me. I mean, who am I in the grand scheme of creation? I am just a grain of sand in the ocean or a wave tossed in the sea(shout out to Casting Crowns!). In fact, my grain is rather rough around the edges and imperfect to say the least. There are many, many greater, more educated and altogether more worthy grains out there that God can speak to and through. Who am I to think that he would choose me? It is a grand mystery that I struggle to understand. But even as I write this, God is making the mystery a little less puzzling. You see, I said yes. And that is all it takes- a willing and open heart. He asked me to dance, and I said yes. And so we dance. And he whispers His truth in my heart and sets me on fire. And then he brings the people he wants to touch into my life to watch me burn. Sometimes, I really go down in flames and other times, I feel like water gets thrown on me. Either way, I know I have been blessed with the Holy Spirit’s gift of fortitude because I don’t think I could embrace the role of prophet without it.
Now let’s talk about Kings. When I think about a King, I think about someone with political power, monetary wealth and worldly prestige. Now, I know that our Lord is a different kind of King whose kingship is not defined by the world’s standards. Nevertheless, I do not consider myself worthy of that title. Maybe I am part of the king’s court, or even a princess. But king? No. My Lord is the King. He is the one who died on the cross. He is the one who paid the ransom for my sin. He is the one (and only one) worthy of that title. So, to say that I share in Christ’s kingship is rather perplexing and has really challenged me to put on my thinking cap this week. I think the reason I seem to be having such a hard time with this concept is due to the fact that I really hadn’t thought about what Christ’s kingship really is. The kingship Christ defines is much different than the royal role I imagine. You see, Christ gained power through love. As king, he completely gave himself to his people through his death on the cross. He defeated death with love and he did it so that we may live and truly be God’s people on this earth and into eternity. When we are baptized and participate in the sacraments, we share in his life, receive his grace and remain in his love. As his people, he asks us to be kings. He asks us to share in that love that drives one to such a sacrifice. He asks us to completely empty ourselves and abandon our will to His. When we live this way, we live as kings; not kings who take power and wealth, but kings who love and sacrifice for the good of others. We are kings when our own lives are abandoned out of love for the kingdom.
As Christians, we are called to take on these roles. We are the body of Christ. We are the children of God. When we live these roles, we bring Christ’s light to this dark world. We are the candles while he is the flame. Now, I don’t know about you, but these roles seem rather daunting. All this talk of consecration, prophesy, and sacrifice of my life sends my flawed humanity straight to fear. But, I have to say, that I prefer that fear over a life distanced from Christ. I have lived that life and it is not a bed of roses. In that life, there is no joy. There is no fire. There is no peace. When I embrace Christ’s life- the life He gave me through baptism as priest, prophet and king, love fuels my soul, joy is over flowingly abundant and I have the peace surpasses all understanding. I am living the life God created me to live.
“As Jesus, in his abandonment before death, delivered himself into the hands of the invisible and incomprehensible God, the soul must do likewise—casting herself headlong into the pitch darkness of faith, the only way to the incomprehensible God.” -St. Edith Stein
Copyright 2012 Lori Miller