Here is the sermon from last Sunday. Please keep looking for God in your everyday life!
Mark 10:35-45 Grace and peace to you from God our father and our Lord and savior Jesus Christ amen What is wrong with James and John? Have they not heard what Jesus is saying? I read back in Mark three verses this morning, because I want to put their conversation with Jesus in context. The disciples and Jesus were not just out for a stroll, they were headed for Jerusalem; and Jesus has just shared with the disciples what will happen when they arrive. Arrest, torture and death, followed by resurrection This is the THIRD time he has shared this with the disciples! The first time Peter got in trouble for trying to stop Jesus, the second time Jesus talks about his suffering and death, the disciples response is to Argue over who is the greatest. So it's not too surprising that James and John are still clueless. They approach Jesus on the road and say: "Allow one of us to sit on your right and the other on your left when you enter your glory." I imagine Jesus looking at them and shaking his head. "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They replied, "We are able." Of course we know who will be at Jesus right and at his left in Jerusalem, The two criminals crucified with him! I don't think that is what James and John were expecting to happen, they just don't get it! So they skip over the bad stuff and concentrate on the glory. Jesus has been talking all this time about the least the last and the lost, and the last being first and the first being last. But the disciples are still living according to the world they know! When the ten hear what James and John have been up to they are upset as well, because they all are thinking about power in the same way. The way it's always been. Those with power rule over those without power. The people in charge order everyone else around and money and power are everything Jesus explains to them how the kingdom of God works, and it's in direct opposition to everything they believe. "Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all." Jesus turns everything they know upside down! The world hasn't changed much in 2000 years has it? The message of the powerful abusing their power, and the least last and lost being pushed around by those in charge, is still the way most of the world works isn't it? There's even some of this power struggle among Christians. Maybe not for riches and earthly power, but feeling better than whichever church or faith community we don't agree with still happens more often than we like to admit. We look at a church with a bigger congregation or a fancier building and wonder if God loves them more than us! Or we look down at those with different ideas of how to be followers of Jesus. Even among the clergy this happens. Those with a master's degree look down on those who are called by God to lead, but don't have the opportunity to attend college or seminary. So what are we to do? We want to follow Jesus, we know we are called to serve others and work to alleviate poverty and oppression. We want to be peace makers, and comforters to the sick and grieving. But it's hard not to get caught up in competition. Like James and John sometimes we feel like we should be at the front of the line, and get some recognition for our efforts. We forget what it means to be a servant. That's when Jesus words come back to us, "Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all." And we are reminded that Jesus glory came from giving his life so that we might know freedom in our own lives. May we continue to find ways to follow Jesus' example of the servant life knowing that we are loved and are called to love others as Jesus loves us. Amen Love God, love your neighbor, be the body of Christ in the world Rev. Marie Meeks Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church firstname.lastname@example.org