I am a privileged person. I have been born privileged to live in a wonderful prosperous nation. Too many are not. I have shelter and food and purpose combined with so many opportunities. Many have none. I have had an abundance of privileges over the decades in which I have served the church. I have been in the special place of responsibility bestowed by ordination as a priest.
Over the years of being an active priest it has been a privilege to serve thousands of people. It is not to be taken for granted if one finds oneself as a "parson" during the community. Sometimes we clergy know our place. Many times, I did not know the effect I have had, or did not have, upon those I served.
Many special moments, the opening of occasions, the chances of being in the right place at the right time, have happened to me as a priest. I have been present for births and deaths, weddings and divorces, victories, and tragedies in the lives of ordinary people.
There have been privileges that just seem to happen. I have been called upon to lead prayers at the opening and closing of the Summer Games. One summer I was chaplain to the Legion National Track and Field event in White Rock. There have been civic occasions of openings and closings; beginnings and endings in government and industry. All to which I’d been invited as part of the opportunities I was blessed to have.
I have been privileged to be able to voice concern for the poor and the marginalized, the masses of wounded and neglected people of the world. Many times a year for over fifty years I advocated for the good works of the PWRDF and similar organizations and initiatives. I have witnessed in small ways my solidarity with the unemployed, with community neglect, with those who are abused and suffering, with folks fearing loss of any privilege so small but sacrificially gained.
"Rails, JaiIs and Trolleys" is a documentary about the Farmer's Protest in India, a movie made by a young filmmaker, Henna Mann. This documentary is about people worldwide seeking the right to live and be productive, to look after one's family, to be free to become all that one can become in this world. It was my privilege to be invited to the premiere of this film, shown in August of 2022 at Fraser Valley University. I had never been to a premiere before. It was a privilege.
Not long ago the local Muslim community invited me to a special event highlighting the history of Islamic life. The particular focus was on the history of the plight and flight of Muslims after World War II. I gained insights that challenged my privileged status; I was privileged to discover new voices offer their explanations of the condition of the world.
It is a very humble meaning of the word privilege that I am using in this opinion piece."It is an honour to serve others. The word privilege in the Bible gives the idea of a "restricted honour". That means it is a special restricted honour to serve God, and it is not something to be taken lightly." (The Privilege of Serving Jesus Christ, Ed Taylor, 2021) This is in context of a much greater sacrifice.
It is my privilege to serve God each day. I also know, "Not my will, but Thy will be done."
Photo Credit: Kunakorn Rassadornyindee