This week’s Lutheran Trump Card (The Ten) is the Lutheran understanding of the Priesthood of all believers. In many ways, the priesthood of all believers is an extension of our understanding that we each have a vocation—that we are each called to ‘serve as instruments of God in our daily lives’—whether at home or work or even in our leisure.
But when we speak of the priesthood of all believers, we are speaking about more than just serving God, rather we believe that we are also called to be the mediating presence of God in the world in which we live. As Dave Daubert writes in our study book ‘The Lutheran Trump Cards’, “all Christians have the authority, the command and the obligation to preach (that is, share the message of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ with others), to come before God to prayer for one another, and to offer themselves as a sacrifice to God (to offer one’s self for the benefit of others).”
Martin Luther is often quoted as saying that we are to “be Christ” for each other— or as I like to say, to be God’s hands and feet in our world. It is not enough that we know and are assured of our own salvation; our faith is not a private faith—it is not something we are to keep to ourselves.
When a child is baptized, we light a candle from the Christ candle and then present it to the person being baptized (or a parent or sponsor if it’s a baby) and say these words from Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.” This then is our calling as the baptized children of God—to live our lives in such a way that people will look at us, that they will say—NOT, what a great person—but what a good God they have—and then hopefully, they will want to know the God who we serve and follow.
Again quoting Daubert, “Baptism becomes something that unites us with Christ (Romans 6) and reminds us that we have the power to minister (with humility as Christ) to others. It is a constant reminder of God’s commitment to work through the abiding presence of Christ, which is promised to all who believe.”