Skip to main content

To Serve is Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary for this week is from Mark 10:35-45.  While traveling to Jerusalem, Jesus tells his disciples that he will be betrayed, killed, and will rise again. The sons of thunder, James and John, respond by privately asking Jesus for a favor.  They ask if they can have the place of honor at Jesus' right and left. The callous request demonstrated their lack of understanding, and Jesus asks them if they could bear the cup he was about to drink or the baptism he was about to experience. The cup and the baptism referring to his suffering and death by crucifixion.  James and John didn't understand, so they responded: "yes, of course, why not?".  Jesus shook his head, but acknowledged that they would indeed drink of that cup and experience the baptism, but that the place of honor on his right and left were not his to give.  The other ten disciples became angry with James and John, so Jesus settled the argument by reminding them of the upside down values of the kingdom.  The first will be last, and the leaders will be the servants.  In the kingdom, if you want to be first, you must be slave to all.

A chapter ago Jesus settled an argument between the disciples over who would be the greatest in the kingdom.  He set a child before them and said that they would need to receive the kingdom like a child.  They didn't get it, and this incident was the result of continued positioning among the disciples.  After Jesus' was taken up, it was James, Jesus' brother who led the church, not one of the disciples.  Despite their time with Christ, despite their claims to authority, they decided to focus on serving the community instead of leading it. 

Jesus, King of the Universe, Creator of all things, Son of the Living God set aside his divinity to become a man and rub shoulders with his creation.  During that time he took on the work of a servant, washing the feet of his disciples, healing the sick, and eating with the outcast.  He was a radical servant.  To be a Christ follower is to be a radical servant.  In today's culture, what does a servant do?  What groups of people are outcast and or oppressed?  Find these people, and do what they do, because that is the way of a Christ follower.


Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   " this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t

Prayer Part 2 of 4

  This is the second of four weeks the narrative lectionary is focusing on the Lord's Prayer as found in Luke 11:2-4.  This week we are focusing on the second section: "Give us this day our daily bread." At the time and place that Jesus said this, bread was the center of every meal.  To his people, it had a long history of being a symbol for God's provision.  It was often used to refer to any meal or food, and in this case Jesus expands it to represent all of our needs.   A long time ago, in a place that had been ravaged with war, orphanages were overwhelmed with children.  In one of the facilities, the relief workers noted that the children had trouble falling asleep each night.  They struggled with anxiety, wondering if they would have food for the next day.  Their lack of sleep led to more anxiety and a troubling downward spiral of their mental and physical health.  In an effort to meet their needs the workers tried something new one night.  As they tucked each chi