There is always so much in each of the daily reading. Today’s reading is Luke 22: 24-53. It is a fascinating reading given the loss of prestige and the loss of status in the past few decades for the church.
We are living through a time where all truth claims are questioned and all pretensions to power and status are viewed with cynicism.
The problem for some of the church is that it all too often looks back to times of status and influence and wishes that it could regain its status and influence within society.
The reading today pops all such pretensions. It reminds the church of its basic call.
A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
Jesus is unrelenting in his view that the normal status needs to be reversed. That greatness comes through service and not through any position or any power that we may have. This should have a profound effect on the church and the way that we work. It should help us to determine the sort and status of church and the way we do church.
It’s interesting that Jesus says we should be like the youngest. In first century society it meant that you wouldn’t have status but maybe also that you came with a sense of learning and interest in the world around us. Maybe we need to drop the cynicism and the sense that we know everything and instead come as people who have much more to learn from those around us. Even those we disagree with.
Too often we are seen as arrogant and judgemental.
How has this happened? How can this be when we follow the most revolutionary leader in history?!
To serve means that we are not in control. We do not have the final say. That others determine the agenda. That we come empty-handed. That we come to serve our community.
That means that sometimes we need to tell stories that help people think rather than tell people what they ought to think.
And in everything grace and love needs to prevail.
Jesus realises that Simon Peter is going to betray him.
Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.
Here we get a glimpse of what Jesus might say to the church that has supped too long with the authorities and establishment. It points to our betrayal of Jesus by looking for status and influence (even when we deny that we do or that we will!). But amidst it is the reminder to strengthen our brothers and sisters when we come to our sense. A realisation that, yes we betrayed Him, but that when we come to our senses and pursue the agenda of Jesus that we strengthen one another to walk in the way of Jesus. The way of service and humility. Meeting people out of our vulnerability and pain.
Previous years Easter Meditations: