As I have written before, I have moved into a full time assignment within the Pastoral Center for the Diocese, and it has motivated me to think more about the meaning of priesthood, and what it means to for me be a priest.
One stream of thought has been about transitions, or living on the edge, or living in the in-between. This stream of thought gained some ground within me the other week as I was walking the beach in Oregon. The life of the Diocesan priest (which is my perspective) is that of being always on the edge.
The edge is a transition, a threshold. We all experience these in our lives. It is when we move from one phase of life to another; for better or for worse. It is at these times of transition that we are more susceptible to the divine, to the presence of Christ. The role of the priest is to help people in these moments of transition to see, hear, feel and experience God and to help them move closer to God.
People will move in and out of these moments, but because everyone is always at different levels in their lives, the priest must stay in transition. He must live on the edge, for that is where he is needed.
He walks along the beach where the tide meets the sand; to greet those coming out of the waters of chaos onto the safety of the land; and to meet those going out into the chaos to help them turn aside.
He is the one who lives at dawn and dusk, to waken those into the light, to stand with a torch for those lost in the darkness.
Living on the edge can be tiring. We always have to be alert to those around us; we must be alert that we are selves do not fall into the dark, into the chaos. We must be alert to not become so comfortable and light that we forget God.
We must be always in transition. That is where Christ can be best heard.