Remembering the Priesthood of All Believers

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“Stay Connected. Discover new Perspectives. Do Justice.”

It’s the month in which we remember the Protestant movement known as the Reformation. And as its name suggests, something was “re-formed” so significantly that its shape remains a hallmark of our lives and world today.  What was reformed, you ask? The practice of faith was re-formed!

You see, prior to the Reformation, people would live out their faith lives almost totally dependent on the execution, instruction, and administration of religion through the church as an institution. They lived by and through priests, bishops, cardinals, and the papal governance political system. The individual believer did not own or execute their love for the Lord in a personal manner like we may know it today. They didn’t even have access to the written word or were likely illiterate. But that changed. Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others propelled a movement of people to know what they believed and live their lives out in gratitude because of their personal biblical convictions. Sometimes, this is known as “the priesthood of all believers”; what is often called the “forgotten principle” of the Reformation.

Each individual "became" a priest. And all of those new "priests" together could have mighty impact.

It is time to relearn that thrust which began in the Reformation. No longer is a priest the key intermediary between a believer and God, but a believer can access God based upon their own personal faith. Each individual "became" a priest. And all of those new "priests" together could have mighty impact.

So stay connected to Christ. Stay connected to scripture. Stay connected to the faith you claim as your own. Stay connected to the church. Then discover new perspectives from Jesus. Discover new perspectives from others. Discover new perspectives from a multitude of places and people. Finally, use all of this personal connection and discovery in order to do justice with others. Do justice with agencies and institutions. Do justice together with your church. Do justice by yourself.

Do justice with agencies and institutions. Do justice together with your church. Do justice by yourself.

Perhaps a story illustrates the point. When I was young, I showed an uncanny appreciation for nature. Since then I, on a personal level, have surrounded myself with learning about creation to the point of getting a degree in Environmental Science. I take the time to watch David Suzuki or read content that integrates faith and nature. I am drawn to the creational foundation that undergirds our Reformed framework (Creation, Fall, Redemption, New Creation). But now what? What do I do with all this faith formation?

The answer is to seek ways of appreciation for nature that go beyond enjoying the cottage life on the lake. That’s TOO SMALL a perspective. It’s too selfish. Instead, together with community, the church, and organizations I support, I look for every opportunity to live out Christ’s call on my life in a world far bigger than my backyard. I encourage the Climate Witness Project of my denomination or seek to bolster the work of my local church in converting an empty lot to a community garden or work with the Centre for Public Dialogue to engage the government around issues of justice and fairness for the land originally owned by our Indigenous neighbours.

And I do all that because I am a priest amongst a priesthood of other believers.

This post originally appeared on Do Justice, as part of a series called Justice and Our Reformed Confessions

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