A few Cups ago I wrote about my comparisons of the Church at times to an army in dress uniform on the parade ground and at times, more importantly, to an army at war. There is another analogy that I have found useful – to sports.
In my early life in the church I thought of the church in this way: the clergy and religious (monks and nuns) were the team on the field and the members were the spectators in the stands. I knew of lay activists, such as Dorothy Day, but I would have lumped them in the same team-on-the-field category.
With the years has come a different view. Now I think of the members of the church as the team on the field, who in living out their baptismal vows in their places of work and leisure and family life, contend daily with the evil forces that corrupt and destroy the creatures of God. The clergy are the coaches, trainers, and sports medicine practitioners, encouraging us and teaching us how to play the game. The spectators in the stands are the world outside. And make no mistake – the world is always watching how well we are doing.
Part of “The General Thanksgiving,” in Morning and Evening Prayer comes to mind. “Almighty God,…we pray…that…we may show forth your praise not only with our lips but in our lives…”
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC, 17-December-2013.