Many years ago, there was a Star Trek show called Voyager. Overall, I don’t remember much about it, but I do recall this scene between Neelix (guest alien onboard) and Tuvok (i.e., Vulcan, humorless, emotionless, kind of like a robot):
NEELIX: These are Keela flowers. Beautiful, and remarkably strong. The stem is flexible, impossible to break. But occasionally on the same plant there’s a bloom whose stem is not so flexible. Ah, here’s one. And when the stem is brittle, it breaks.
TUVOK: You’re saying that the Maquis crew is rigid and inflexible. That they will never adjust to Starfleet rules.
NEELIX: No, Mister Vulcan, I’m saying that you are rigid and inflexible, but maybe if you’d learn to bend a little, you might have better luck with your class. Those Maquis aren’t Starfleet cadets. You can’t treat them the same way. Get to know them, try to find out what they’re like inside. You might discover a better teaching method.“Learning Curve”, Original Airdate: May 22, 1995 (Stardate -327613). Thanks to www.chakoteya.net for the transcript.
The Maquis were an insurrection/guerilla group. Their methods of instruction and obedience were not the military-style of Starfleet. Tuvok learned one way. He taught one way. Rigidly.
However, the Maquis were just as rigid. It was just that they rigidly didn’t want to be like Starfleet
What on earth (or in space) does this have to do with these passages?
According to Peter, we are the priesthood of all believers. I may have a certain role within that priesthood (as an ordained person). You have one too.
The ultimate purpose of the priests is the be the intercessors between “the people” and God. For Christians, “the people” are the world that does not yet believe in Jesus Christ.
The priests, however, have their own relationship with God. In our case (the collective Christian case), we are called to give of ourselves: money, time, talent, and so on. It’s too rigid to say it is “required”. On the other hand, it is a spiritual discipline.
When we do not give of ourselves, or we do it grudgingly, we are the ones called out by Malachi giving deformed useless sacrifice for the sake of a check box.
In regard to our Christian life, there is a rigidity in sacrifice. That is one of the aspects of a mature Christian, self-sacrifice. It’s odd to say it is not required; on the other hand, it is essential.
The flexibility, however, is in how it works out. You could be gifted with teaching, encouragement, prayer, or something else. Freedom from the Law is how we are free to respond to God and to others through love.
The question for you isn’t, are you gifted? The question is, what are you gifted in? The next question is like it; how will you use that gift for the community of believers around you?
Creator, you have made each of us different so that only together can reflect your infinite love. Amen.