Thursday, January 5, 2012

R. S. Thomas's poem, "The Priest"

This poem captures well the real nature of our calling and ministry:

The priest picks his way
Through the parish. Eyes watch him
From windows, from the farms;
Hearts wanting him to come near.

The flesh rejects him.

Women, pouring from the black kettle,
Stir up the whirling tea-grounds
Of their thoughts; offer him a dark
Filling in their smiling sandwich.

Priests have a long wayh to go,
The people wait for them to come
To them over the broken glass
Of their vows, making them pay
With their sweat's coinage for their correction.

He goes up a green lane
Through growing birches; lambs cusion
His vision, He comes slowly down
In the dark, feeling the cross warp
In his hands; hanging on it his thought's icicles.

"Crippled soul", do you say? looking at him

From the mind's height; "limping through life
On his prayers, There are other people
in teh world, sitting at table
Contented, though the broken body
And the shed blood are not on teh menu."

"Let it be so", I say. "amen and amen."

This is what the Lord has called us- to care for souls, a ministry over the broken glass to a world that sees us limping through life' and who are quite content without the broken body and shed blood on our tables.  This is exactly what the world needs- broken pieces that have put all of their strength in our constant companion, Jesus Christ. - The Peace Making Pastor by Alfred Poirier- An awesome book on hos a pastor should maintain peace.

Every pastor faces conflict in the church and the book provides a gospel-centered strategy for equipping pastor to be highly effective peacemakers who can lead their flocks safely through conflict while building a culture of peace in the church.

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