August 21, 2009
As he taught, he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets!" Mark 12:38-40
I've been wrestling with the concept of pastoral identity. What's that mean, really? Is it important that I wear the white chaplain coat? Is that what makes me a chaplain? I can hear myself, "I'm wearing the white coat, so that defines me."
Of course not, but thinking along these lines is helping me define what is my pastoral identity. Somehow recognizing what it is not gives me some sense of what it is.
The woman I visited this morning (the one with her sister, grandmother, nephew and friend in the room) thought that I said I was the chapel. "Wow," she replied seriously, "...they have a chapel at this hospital? You it?" I had a sense that her misunderstanding was not about my pastoral identity.
I explained, "Um, well, we do have a chapel - a place you can go and pray if you like - and so I am the chaplain; a kind of pastor for the hospital." Oh, uh-huh - they all nodded at her and at me.
"So would you pray for me?"
She got it. And it wasn't because of my white coat. She helped me out!
What long robes must you be aware of, today?