“Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant…” Matthew 20:26
Making America great again….
Don’t go jumping to conclusions here! I thought of this oft-repeated political phrase (yes, it has been used by politicians before our present President). I asked myself, from the perspective of this season we are in, and looking forward to Easter’s bright new hope and promise, what do I think greatness look like?
I’ve known this text quoted above most of my life. I’ve preached on it, …more than once. We each have an idea of ‘greatness’. We have people that we think of who exemplify greatness. And while we can think of the giants of the scientific field, the great generals of so many wars fought over centuries, great teachers who may have motivated generations, great villains and great accumulators of wealth…..what does God consider greatness?
Jesus speaks about greatness in a personal sense. Now, we hear his words, but really? Become a servant and be great? It doesn’t have the pizzazz of a mighty warrior or being an intellectual giant, problem solver or “the world’s richest man” (I got that one from the commercials.) No, and it doesn’t make sense, …at least, not as the world sees things.
But think of Jesus speaking these words just before he enters Jerusalem; just before he begins his last week of life. Here are words that take us to ‘the Passion’ (which is not an experience we would look forward to). And yet, Jesus says, those who would be great in the Kingdom of God will be those who care for and work on behalf of the good of others. The word is servanthood. Whether a person, a congregation, a community or a nation… Jesus says if we would be great, in God’s Kingdom, we must become servants of God to others, servants to humankind.
I said above these are words that take us to ‘the Passion of Christ’ but in truth… the words take us further. Servanthood to God takes us to Easter… to life, and hope, and joy – not just for ourselves but for others all around us! This month, containing Palm Sunday, the week it begins, and Easter Sunday too, is a good time for us to consider how we are doing.
And if I might challenge us all, as Americans…. What might truly make America great again in the eyes of God? What would greatness as a congregation, as a community, …as an individual look like?
Jesus modeled it. Selfless love. This is what brings Easter’s truth of resurrection and new beginnings. Dare we aim for this greatness? If we do, if we will, we can bring hope, and healing to the world!On the road to Easter. Your servant, Dave