As a baptized Christian, we are all priests, prophets, and kings. The history of this goes all the way back to Mt. Sinai at the time of Moses. If you recall, God wanted to make the people a “kingdom of priests, a holy nation.” (Ex 19:9). This was before the Tribe of Levi was tasked with the priestly functions. The people agreed to be God’s people, but when he appeared on Mt. Sinai amidst thunder and lighting, the people grew afraid, and appointed Moses as the mediator between them and God. It was not yet time for God to realize his goal of a priestly people.
However, the time of a priestly people came into existence with Jesus, who is the High Priest. As members of his body, this makes us priests, too.
What does it mean to be a priest? The answer is pretty clear cut in the Old Testament. Priests were responsible for offering various sacrifices on behalf of the people. Sacrifices were offered for many purposes, including offerings of thanksgiving, praise, and repentance. Priests of the Old Testament had to live pure lives. They worked in the Temple, the place where their God lived. They served him by caring for the Temple, and they believed they cared for his daily needs (even though God has no material needs).
How does this transition into the post-Temple era? My initial thoughts are along these lines. As priests we are called to live a consecrated life; a life with one foot in the secular world, and one foot in the sacred. Thus, we are to live as if we are the temple of God. We are to offer him sacrifices of praise (Heb 13:15) and other spiritual sacrifices. (1 Pet 2:4-5). Spiritual sacrifices can be made in many forms, including a mental offering to God of your will in exchange for his, and humble petitions for your needs and the needs of others.
Spend some time today reflecting on your life as a priest in Christ. How can you make spiritual sacrifices to the Lord? Spend some time offering him praise, asking for forgiveness, and for advice on how to better live out your priestly vocation in the secular world today. Feel free to share some of your insights as we all learn to better embrace our royal, prophetic, and priestly functions.