It was said long ago that there was a king named Melchizedek. "Without father or mother, without genealogy..."(Hebrrews 7:3). Hence "Mel" became my father's favorite name for the stray dogs he adopted, which were of uncertain parentage. And Melchizedek represented a holy order for those priests born outside of the ordinary way. As Isaiah wrote once, "Sing, O barren woman....because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband." And John writes of "...children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." So Abraham becomes the father of many nations in a very unexpected way. By the Spirit, not the flesh. The whole ancient patriarchal system was overturned. And life could once again spring from outside the pre-programmed systems of control, where destinies were determined by a look at the genitals: circumcised, or not; male, or not.
Today I exercised my own "high priesthood" in my home and farm, as my housemates and farmmates often do towards me. Today I buried Braveheart. This kitten, probably predestined by some defect to die, which the mother could tell, though she and I and my daughters worked together restore it, struggled for two days to hang on to life. I held the newborn creature in my hands, warming it, and was awed by the inner strength. Here was life! It was brief, and yet, so full. We had to try. Watching, feeding it a drop at a time, cleaning it.
"You are a priest forever". I say to Braveheart's grave. A sacrament of the Creator's eternal gift of life that shows us the way to love. And I go about my life, and try to remember to carry on this priesthood of foundlings, we who have been brought into the glorious basileia of God by the second Adam, but first born back from among the dead. We bury the dead- the dogs, chickens and cats- and bless the profane, making it holy. Even shit is holy, composted and returned to earth to bless the trees and flowering herbs, the grains and vines, the making of bread and wine for the Lord's own table, where it is again blessed and made holy in the unending continuum of priesthoodness. So holy, that children skip and run after receiving. And babies babble the Gospel anew to bereaved widows.