Exodus 28:39–43, 1 Peter 2:4–5, 1 Corinthians 12:27–30, Revelation 5:9–10 (read online ⧉)
In the Protestant tradition, of which we are a part*, there has long been a stance about the Priesthood of All Believers. The primary principle is that Jesus is the ultimate and eternal priest, so there is no longer a need for a mediator between humanity and God. In theology and on paper it sounds great, but in general, we don’t seem to do well with it. There are some Christian traditions that have managed it through the years, but they are few and far between.
Most of this has to do with the human need for organization and administration. Contrary to many people’s thinking, that isn’t a bad thing. If you were to read the Creation account in Genesis, you would see an organized and hierarchal pattern (and that isn’t just humanity’s place).
Despite a long-standing tradition of the Priesthood of All Believers in almost all Protestant traditions (yes, there is an exception), theologically and organizationally we don’t believe or function wholly that way. We read in 1 Corinthians that organizational roles were essentially spiritualized, so we certainly are not outside of the Scriptures.
Without question, there is a tension, and it is a tension well worth thinking on. We call on pastors to teach and guide us. The role of elder in our church is more part of a decision-making body than spiritual leadership (Note: this is observation, not a commentary. They do hard work.). These aren’t the only roles in the church. Each of us has a role to play. The big issue is when we pawn our role onto another since they have a “role” and we don’t. Except we do.
There is a lot of creative liberty in the following, yet sometimes it’s necessary to breakdown our thought processes.
Moses is the “true” mediator in this story, yet he will leave (die) and the practice will remain.
Step 1: Anoint
We generally practice this in times of healing. However, if we look at it in more general terms, baptism could be a form of anointing. Yes, it’s different. On the other hand, it too is a physical sign of something that a person is participating in and allowing. You have been baptized (if not, talk to someone about that) into the family of God.
Step 2: Ordain
This is a little trickier, as we have a certain traditional understanding of “ordain”. In Hebrew, מָלֵא (maleʾ, malaʾ /maw·lay/) is more often translated as fill or fulfill. Sounds a bit like the Holy Spirit filling up the disciples on Pentecost, and what is supposed to be inside every person who claims Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Step 3: Consecrate
This is the easiest, as it means set apart. Sounds similar to the list in 1 Corinthians. We each have been set apart for our role to fulfill the Great Commission as a member of the body of Christ, the Church.
1) Everyone has a role in the Priesthood of All Believers. What is yours? If you believe you don’t have one, seek the guidance of other believers, friends, and family. Everyone has a role, and spectator isn’t one of them.
2) People often believe they have no place to belong (whether at home, church, work, school, etc.). When we fulfill our roles, we often find our place to belong. Why do people, then, seem to want to put their role onto others?
3) Why might it be important to think of yourself as anointed, ordained, and consecrated?
*as Generations Community Church, part of the Church of the Nazarene