Living on the Border of the Holy: Renewing the Priesthood of All


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Evangelii Gaudium Pope Francis. He was not an Israelite yet he worshipped God rather than the many gods of the people of the area. Then Melchizedek just fades from the scene as quietly as he arrived, yet leaving a lasting impact on not just Abraham but on the priesthood and the very concept of priesthood itself.

We think of a priest as a person who conducts worship, accepts gifts offered to God and blesses the people through not just the act of blessing itself but through the sacramental rites which priests perform like baptism and Eucharist. They also have duties such as running a church, teaching, preaching, visiting the sick and a whole list of other duties we consider to be the province of the clergy even though some of that can legitimately be done by the laity.

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Somehow priests are different, not like ordinary people, even though they do put their pants and trousers on one leg at a time, just like everybody else. We sometimes refer to Jesus as our great high priest yet he was not an official priest. He was not ordained, a member of the tribe of Levi, the tribe chosen at the time of Moses to be the religious leaders, or a kohanin, a Levite and a direct descendant of Aaron.

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Jesus was outside that hereditary priesthood yet he had a priesthood of his own, a ministry of teaching, preaching, healing and blessing. William Countryman called Living on the Border of the Holy: Reading it again tells me it still has the same impact. His thesis is that all baptized Christians are priests according to the order of Melchizedek, not just those who have undergone the training and the ceremony of ordination.

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Apr 03, Darla rated it really liked it. As such, he had no more access to the inner part of the Temple or knowledge of its rites or authority to preside over them than any other male lay Israelite. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days When will my order arrive? Melchizedek is an unusual character who appears without fanfare.

I never thought of my job as a mentor in EfM as a form of priesthood, but, as Countryman assures me, the way I share my experience with the intersection of the sacred and the profane, encouraging those I mentor to look for the borders of the holy in their lives and to live into whatever ministry God calls them is not just a ministry but my job as a priest.