Sunday, December 20, 2015

Mark 9:33-37 (NRSV): Service and Humility

Mark 9:33-37 (NRSV): Service and Humility
. . . For on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

The disciples, again, get it wrong. As they argue who is the greatest, Jesus corrects them not only verbally but visually. Jesus is clear in his speech: “If anyone would be first, he must be last and servant of all.” As followers of Jesus we must imitate his example of humility, self-giving, and service, putting others before ourselves. This applies to everything we do in life, no matter our job or personal circumstances. We come last; others come first. To illustrate this, Jesus takes the lowest socially-ranked human of the times, a child, and embraces him or her saying, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.” When we serve what society deems the least or lowest level citizen, we imitate Christ. But Jesus takes our service a step further. When we serve the least person of honor, we serve Christ himself. After all, God became human in Jesus.  In coming to save a sinful world, Jesus chose to be born among the stench of animals, exposed to the cold, damp air of a stable, raised in a struggling family who had little and worked hard to survive. Jesus came to us not as a worldly king but as a crying child in need of love, totally dependent upon Joseph and Mary. As we prepare for Christmas, let us remember the humility of the Creator of the universe. Let us remember that God loves us so much that he became “the last of all and servant of all.”

Let us all pray that our families and friends be blessed this Christmas and that those children (and their families) who seek shelter and safety in the war-torn corners of the world find protection in the loving arms of Christ’s Body on earth.

Please keep each other and our special intentions in prayer this week.  

May you all be blessed and encouraged in the love and peace of Christ.