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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, June 08, 2008
    Priestly Duties - almost exhausted
     
    .... What should a priest be?

    Accessible and incorruptible
    abstemious, yet full of celebration
    informed but not threateningly so
    and far above the passing soufflé of fashion

    What should a priest be?

    An authority on singleness
    Solomon-like on the labyrinth of human sexuality
    excellent with young marrieds, old marrieds,
    were marrieds, never marrieds, shouldn’t have marrieds,
    those who live together, those who live apart,
    and those who don’t live anywhere

    respectfully mindful of senior citizens and war veterans
    familiar with the ravages of arthritis,
    osteoporrosis, postnatal depression, anorexia,
    whooping cough and nits ....

    .... What does a priest do?

    Mostly stays awake at Deanery synods
    tries not to annoy the Bishop too much
    visits hospices, administers comfort
    conducts weddings, christenings -
    not necessarily in that order -
    takes funerals
    consecrates the elderly to the grave
    buries children and babies
    feels completely helpless beside
    the swaying family of a suicide ....

    Having now twice preached ordination-day sermons for friends both utilising Stewart Henderson's wonderful extended poem Priestly Duties - albeit events separated by three years and 150 miles - I think I'll have to come up with something different next time. Pity, I love it.