Friday, April 8, 2022 | Mark 10:32-45
This passage from Mark begins with Jesus predicting his death to the disciples, and in response, James and John ask about having seats next to him in paradise. The other disciples are angry, and I like to think I would have been angry along with them. But in truth, it’s more likely I would have been one of the disciples angling to sit right next to Jesus.
We really can’t fault James and John for wanting to be close to Jesus, as they surely loved him and understood his goodness, if not completely his divine being. Who wouldn’t want to be best friends with the Savior of the nations? Yet it was also about having power, being connected, and proving one’s self-importance. They skipped right over responding to his declaration of imminent death. Jesus’ response to their grabbing at a chance for importance is to tell them to instead be a servant.
Servant leadership is a phrase used to describe what one should be in their work with others, and it comes from this passage, among others. This is not a CEO mentality of making something great on the backs of workers, it is using our lives to serve others, help them grow in their faith, listen to their hopes and concerns, and serve the community as a whole. At Trinity Cathedral, we can serve each other in worship, in conversations, through outreach, and in our prayers. It is through this that we will show God’s love to others.
Glib me might also be one to say to Jesus “of course I can drink that cup you must drink,” without a clue what that meant. It’s easy to say we will be there for someone, harder to show up. And yet, we could not have done what Jesus did by himself, to serve all nations and all people. That is the good news we must share. God will forgive us for our wanting power, connections, and importance, as we are human. In contemplating God’s goodness towards us, I often think of this hymn:
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
like the wideness of the sea;
there’s a kindness in his justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the Savior;
there is healing in his blood.
This hymn by Frederick Faber concludes with the direction that our life should be full of thanksgiving for the goodness of the Lord: “For the love of God is broader than the measure of the mind; and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.” As servants of God, may we live a life full of rejoicing in God’s mercy and love.
David Schaap serves as organist and choirmaster at Trinity Cathedral. He is the president and founder of Selah Publishing, an internationally known publisher of church music.