Author: John Bisceglia
Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 10:43-45
In this passage in Mark, we find the apostles vying for greatness in the realm of God, not understanding what that means. We judge them for not getting what Jesus has been telling them over and over, and yet I have found myself not understanding this in my own life. Many of my prayers are heavy on my wants and light on the needs of others, so I ask myself what does this mean to me? In the Lord’s Prayer, there is no supplication for our wants but only for our needs and, in turn, the needs of those around us.
Many times, we criticize the Hebrew scriptures as portraying God as vengeful and different than the Jesus God. All these stories show how God serves God’s people, from Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, etc. We observe stories of God serving people, not in the ways they want, but in the ways they need. We get hung-up on how the other are treated, forgetting that we say we aren’t literalists, but missing the underlying servant love that God shows.
In Communion, we get upset by the image of blood and body and forget the sacrifice of Jesus, who offers his very self to serve us. In our pride, we don’t want to admit that we need to be served or that we deserve God’s love/service. We take God’s grace lightly. (I say we because I am guilty of all that I am saying.)
Jesus was a revolutionary, saying that we lead from service not from power, and we/I have just as much of a problem today as they did then.
Servant God, help us to know that every act of service brings us closer to you and helps us to understand the love you have for us. Help us to understand how, by living this way, we become Jesus to the world around us.