Ministry, 11th century style

I’m not sure that I can match the ministerial prowess and the expectation of ministry that is established in the pages of The Song of Roland.

Archbishop Turpin goes riding through the field;
Ne’er was mass sung by any tonsured priest
That of his body could do such valiant deeds!

Turpin of Rheims, finding himself o’erset,
With four sharp lance-heads stuck fast within his breast,
QUickly leaps up, brave lord, and stands erect.
He looks on Roland and runs to him and says
Only one word: “I am not beaten yet!
True man failed never while life in him was left.”
He draws Almace, his stell-bright brand keen-edged;
A thousand strokes he strikes amid the press.
Soon Charles shall see he spared no foe he met,
For all about him he’ll find four hundred men,
Some wounded, some clean through the body cleft,
And some of them made shorter by the head.

I’m not sure I could keep on, keeping on, with four lances stuck in my chest. It would make pastoral visits and preaching a tad more difficult – and I might just decide to call in sick that day. I hope my internship committee doesn’t hold that sentiment against me.

2 thoughts on “Ministry, 11th century style”

  1. You have certainly helped me (and I’m sure others) when I had the equivalent of four lances in my chest, they can take that into account. 🙂

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