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Monday, October 11, 2010

Monsignor, Pastor, Mommy

I don't go to school anymore. I don't work in an office building. But I still am not fond of Mondays.

I kind of want that to be my whole post.

But here is what I have been thinking about for the past two days:

I grew up as a Catholic. Our family holidays often included the Monsignor of our local church. My father was the principal of our local Catholic high school, and we would spend time with the Msgr. outside of church.

It was kind of terrifying.

I would have to go to that same man on Sundays and confess my sins to him. Mind you, there was nothing inherently terrifying about this dear man. He was always kind and respectful to my family. It was just that he held a position of such authority. It was rather daunting just to be around him.

Back then, I did not have a real relationship with the Lord. I knew of Him, and about Him, but I did know know Him. By His grace, I do know Him now, and I sit under the teaching of another man and another church.

And this man preached this week on one's personal allegiance and love to one's church. Chad talked about what real biblical love is. He likened contemporary cultural love to a consumer product. When the product is no longer shiny and useful in our eyes, we discard it. This happens in many marriages. This happens in many churches.

It is a difficult thing to see something you hold to a high standard, fail to meet that standard. As Chad said, "People are surprised to learn that their pastors and elders are flawed".

So I thought about this. Yes, it is a bit of a shock to learn that. Throughout my entire childhood, I was convinced that the Monsignor never had to recite Hail Marys or Our Fathers as penance for his sin. He just didn't sin. Of course, now I can deduce otherwise. He drove a boring old gray sedan. He must have coveted something a little sportier every once and awhile.

As an adult, I am a bit taken aback to see that the leaders in the church are flawed and sinful. But we all are. Really.

As a mommy, I have to decide what I want my children to learn and emulate. Do I want them to see me as an authority figure who "never" sins? Of course not! I need Jesus' perfect, sinless atonement as much as they need it, and I want them to see that. Do I want them to see me in habitual sin? No way! I want them to see me "working out my salvation with fear and trembling."

I am encouraged that no matter what God calls us to in this life, He gives us all we need to do it well, to serve Him, and to glorify Him. It is a truly loving thing to come alongside a brother or sister and encourage them in righteousness, to humbly address sin in their lives, or to walk with them through a trial. Marriage is often hard. Being in the Body of Christ is often hard. Both places are populated solely with fallen sinners. But if we are looking to Christ as the author and finisher of our faith, our vision is less obscured by the periphery.

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