a boy priest

The Rt. Rev. Claude Payne

Last night Maggie I had the great honor of sharing a meal with the Rt. Rev. Claude Payne, the retired 7th Bishop of Texas, and his lovely wife Barbara. When it came time to order our glasses of wine at the restaurant, the waiter decided to flex his TABC authority and card me. Of course, the bishop got a real kick out of that, along with Jeff Fisher (my rector) and his wife Susan.

There I was, with an esteemed purple-shirted bishop, my boss in a collar, me in a collar, and the dude decides to card me.  Wow.  And though I laughed it off at the time, this afternoon I happened to read the first chapter of Jeremiah.

“Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 

‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ 
Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.’ But the Lord said to me,
‘Do not say, “I am only a boy”;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you. 
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord’” – Jeremiah 1: 4-8

No 26 year old priest can read that without recalling 
a dozen comments made about his age.  From, 
“my grandsons are older than you!” 
to “when did they let teenagers become priests?”  
Yes, I am young.  Yes, I cannot grow a beard.
Yes, God has indeed called me to the priesthood.  


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