layperson?

Yesterday, during “leadership prayers” before church, I had this strange inside: I like being part of a community of Christians within the Anglican tradition. I had this very strong sense that this was a new beginning for us as a community and for me as an individual. I have been struggling with a couple of issues and, as always, it has affected my sense of balance.

I have been thinking about what it means to be a layperson. And, in my case, a layperson with a theological degree. So a person who has the same academic qualification as a priest but has no desire to become clergy. I will add, a very happy Anglican! Experience has taught me that I do not have the gifts to run a parish or to be involved in the larger denominational context. I am somewhat of a free spirit and like my own agenda.

I have no desire to lead a parish (what a disaster that would be) and I do not want to celebrate the divine mysteries. Other people do that much better than I could ever do. I am happy to use my gifts within the liturgy as a layperson – serving or being Master of Ceremonies, and sacristan. In my current context, it means helping with the technology on a Sunday and setting up the altar before our service.

For my own mental health, I need to be in “the moment”. That means being what I am right now and not looking forward to a possible self that depends on others. And right now I am a “happy layperson” who sometimes teaches and sometimes helps in the parish. I like the freedom of being “without authority” (like SK!). I like that I am answerable to my vicar for what I teach and what I do.

I like the freedom of being an Anglican – the unity within diversity that means I can be “somewhat Catholic” within an emerging parish. A context where doctrine is a witness but not as important as Jesus. I want to be part of a context where the sign of the cross is as familiar as hands raised in praise. Individuals gathering around Jesus!

So a somewhat weird start to the week!!!

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