Do you ever, probably unconsciously, feel that a teaching of Jesus is not aimed personally? Recently I had a reminder to think again. I’m thinking of this little story from the Lord’s final journey to Jerusalem. Mrs Zebedee has just tried to get top jobs for James and John.
Jesus called the apostles to him, and said: You know that the princes of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that are the greater, exercise power upon them. It shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your minister: And he that will be first among you, shall be your servant. Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many.
I’m no Prince of the Gentiles, and indeed the royal princes in the United Kingdom seem to have taken this text to heart. But still, ‘It shall not be so among you’ suggests that Jesus expected that it often would be. The various scandals in the Church are to do with exercising power over other people.
But a more mundane instance hit me during the cold spell we had in March. I had to go to a place where dedicated people care for others, and to reach the area where the hands-on care actually actually happens, walked past the administration offices. The path as far as that door had been treated with grit, so that all the snow had melted and walking was easy. For the last fifteen metres the grit had not been applied.
If you asked the admin staff straight out, are you more important than the carers, they could hardly say yes. But the pathway tells another story.
So perhaps a little examination of conscience on where I might be lording it over people? Even though I never thought I was?
When Peter’s mother-in-law was cured, she at once ministered to Jesus and his companions. With all the gifts I have received, I should be ministering to his friends too.
PS: spare a thought and prayer for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they prepare to marry tomorrow. The timing of this post was co-incidental; I only noticed on rereading it today.
Different town, different winter, deeper snow…