At the blog Dirty Sexy Ministry there is a reflection on the most important work of being a priest: “holding things.”
I hold things.
As a priest, I think that’s often my most important job. Holding things doesn’t come with detailed instructions or reflective books we can read and discuss in small groups. We humans come into the world knowing we need to hold things and learning how to hold things. It’s not brain surgery. It’s simply holding things.
I hold the paten as I distribute the Body of Christ to people. Adults who pray exact words. Children who examine the Body closely before consuming it. People who simply are going through the motions. People who are broken themselves and know something about deep woundedness. People who doubt and people who don’t. I hold the Body of Christ for all of them to hold.
I hold hands. I hold the hands of little boys who are being baptized who aren’t sure they will be able to walk up the step stool by themselves. I hold the hands of people in prayer circles as we gather for holy time. I hold the hands of precious ladies as they have yet another needle stick for a medical test that will hurt, but we talk about the weather or her weekly trips to the beauty parlor instead. I hold the hands of those who are making their final great journey until they let go of my hands and take the hands of God who is waiting for them just beyond the place we can see from this side of the Kingdom.
I hold people in their pain and grief. I hold them if they need to be held and cry. If they don’t want to be held, I hold myself in that place and just sit with them. And they cry. I cry, too, at times. Sometimes I’ve wondered if the son or daughter or partner or parent would ever stop crying. I hold tissues, too, as they gather the tears. Again, I don’t fix anything. I just hold.
And as she says– it’s not just priests who hold things because they can’t be the only ones. Read more by the Rev. Laurie Brock and the Rev. Mary Koppe,