“You have given command to build a temple on your holy mountain, and an altar in the city of your habitation, a copy of the holy tent you prepared from the beginning.” Wisdom 9:8 (Apocrypha)
“Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.” Hebrews 5:1
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
We are confused, I think, about pride.
We have a tendency to arch the question of self back upon ourselves, to consider pride in its extremes, to either say that a form of pride is to be so self-satisfied so as to not see another or say that a form of pride is to be so debased that we can never see ourselves.
We have forgotten the good of pride and the good of pride that is found in God.
The author of Wisdom puts into Solomon’s mouth a prayer about the building of the temple. We should not miss that there is nothing small in this. To build the temple of God is an extraordinary honour, a unique honour, a particular calling. There is a certain pride here, in that of all the people God could have chosen, He chooses Solomon.
And yet, how does Solomon pray? He recognises that the temple to be built mirrors a supernatural splendour, a temple laid before the foundations of the earth.
Perhaps this is in the mind of the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, writing that the priests of God interceding for the people are themselves in need of an intercessor, that to serve is to be served, and that though called to such a unique place, they are still under the authority of one greater.
So too Peter reminds the scattered believers, charges them with the reminder that they too are a chosen people, that they have become priests themselves, but that their priesthood is not for exclusivity but for bearing witness to the one-for-whom all things are and are held together.
We need a better way of speaking of pride. We need to move away from the need to humble others when truly we must focus on humbling ourselves. In whatever capacity we have been called priest, whether in the cathedral or the schoolhouse or the lecture hall or the green grocer, to whatever position of power we have been placed; we are in that space, priests of God and ministers to a wounded cosmos.
In this, we must be proud.
We must be proud to be called, proud to be of Christ, proud to be found in him and by him and through him. For only then are we able to adequately humble ourselves as him, to show forth the miraculous in the ordinary, to serve as intercessors for those yet to be found by the great intercessor and our only high priest, for we are a people who in the interim between this age and the age to come have been tasked with building spiritual temples that model and mirror one greater that was known from the beginning, in which Christ is proclaimed as lord to the glory of God the father.
In the pride of our calling we labour hard and with purpose and excellence in the service and for the love of others, upon which all the commandments hang.
This article is from our Seven deadly sins edition. You can read the other articles here.
Image by Sias van Schalkwyk via stock.xchng images.