A young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.
He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the head Abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.
The head monk says, ‘We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.’
He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn’t been opened for hundreds of years.
So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him. He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing: ‘We missed the R! We changed the E! We missed the R! We changed the E! We missed the R! We changed the E!’
His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is sobbing uncontrollably. The young monk asks the old abbot, ‘What’s wrong, father?’
With a choking voice, the old abbot replies, ‘The word was… ‘CELEBRATE!!!”
Without wanting to enter into a discussion about the relative merits of a celibate (or otherwise) clergy, I do want to pick up on the last sentence. How would it be if it was a part of our church rules (if we have them) or routine of life that we have a command from God to celebrate? What would we do differently? What would we stop doing? What might we start doing?
Well, if you read many of the Psalms (and lots of other places too) we do have such an injunction from God. So how about you resolve to put one of those ideas you considered in the last paragraph into action? Celebrate God. Celebrate Salvation. Celebrate life. Perhaps we do not put enough emphasis on this. As followers of Jesus we are followers of someone who certainly celebrated life.
When I was in my first church I did a Q & A session in a local boys’ secondary school about Believer’s Baptism. At the end we had some time left so I asked if the lads had any other questions. There was a lad at the back who was sniggering and being nudged by his friends so I decided to ask him if he had a question.
He got a bit embarrassed and stammered, “Well, can you, you know… do it?”
It took me a moment to realise that he was asking if I was celibate and that he was trying to embarrass me. My response?
“I have a wife and two children. You do the maths!”