My morning routine was very normal yet it was very different…I didn’t even put on a tie, much less a robe.
I mingled during our Fellowship Time, shaking hands, exchanging hugs, and waiting for my wife and daughter to arrive. I didn’t give out any instructions…I didn’t answer any last minute questions…I didn’t even join the leaders of the service in the conference room to pray. I simply grabbed a bulletin and sat in the back of the room (I had to sit in the back to see why it’s so appealing to everyone).
From there, all I had to do was be present…to enjoy worshipping alongside my family and friends. I haven’t been able to do that in a long time. Too long, in fact.
I didn’t lead anything that I normally do…no announcements, no prayer, no sermon, no communion meditation, no invitation or benediction. No, I had the honor of watching our "laity" do all those things…and do them incredible well, I might add. From beginning to end, those involved gave me a greater understanding of Christian unity in a way that was as meaningful to me as it was personal to them. From my perspective, Lay Sunday at my church was a tremendous success.
Yet, as I sit in my office on Monday morning, reflecting on the service once again, I’m wondering if we managed to misname that wonderful Sunday. Just the terms “lay” and “laity” are problematic. They suggest that there is a distinction between them and me…that because I have a vocational call on my life and have a seminary degree, somehow I get a category all to myself. And while that might be true to some extent, we Disciples (and most Protestants) believe in the priesthood of all believers…or, that we are all in the same boat, with the same access to God and the same commitments as followers of Jesus. Even on a day where we talked about being ONE, we allowed artificial lines to creep in and define us.
The "lay people" at my church proved on Lay Sunday that they are anything but lay people…they are nothing short of ministers.
I know because they ministered to me…