Clergy Appreciation Day

October is Clergy Appreciation Month, and the second Sunday in October (today) is Clergy Appreciation Day.

It’s easy to take our clergy for granted. We forget that they are ordinary people just like us except they have a different call on their lives. All of us Christians are called to serve God in our daily lives, regardless of what our vocation is. But the vocation of the clergy is to serve God and His people. I suspect serving His people is the harder job.

We may be unwilling to serve in church or we may be strong-willed volunteers wanting our own way. We may be impatient, often tardy, sometimes missing, too wrapped up in our own lives to even notice, much less respond to, the needs of others. Yet we expect our pastors and priests to carry out their jobs flawlessly, to appreciate our meager efforts when we volunteer, to go along with our plans when we serve, and to be patient and kind and understanding in all situations.

Even when we sincerely appreciate our clergy, we often fail to demonstrate our appreciation. So today on Clergy Appreciation Day, I want to publicly to acknowledge and thank priests who mean a lot to me. Like laypeople, none of them is perfect. I don’t agree with any one of them all the time. Yet each one of them serves the Lord and his fellow believers with strong faith and deep commitment that I admire and appreciate.

Other priests who have ministered to me are Father Chip Harper, Retired Anglo-Catholic priest who was my parish priest for many years and now has a virtual parish on Facebook, and Father Jerry Kramer, who with his wife Stacy serves as a missionary in a very dangerous area. I highly recommend support for their mission, Love for the Least.

To them I say, thank you for answering God’s call on your life. Thank you for loving the Lord with all Your heart, mind, soul, and strength and for loving your neighbor as yourself. Thank you for what you do and have done for the Kingdom of God. Know that your commitment is noticed and appreciated. Know that you are appreciated far more than you know. When you are discouraged, realize that you are loved. When you are weak, know that God’s strength is sufficient. When you feel overwhelmed, remember that with God, all things are possible.

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. 

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Lord, bless and guide all ministers of your church, especially those who have ministered to us. Clothe them in righteousness and grant them wisdom. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 

1 Timothy 5:17

O LORD, our heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; We beseech thee to bless all who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of their fellow men. Endue them with wisdom, patience, and courage to strengthen the weak and raise up those who fall; that, being inspired by thy love, they may worthily minister in thy Name to the suffering, the friendless, and the needy; for the sake of him who laid down his life for us, the same thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. ~ 1928 Book of Common Prayer

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