<$MTGreetFacebookCom Accountable to All: Sermon on Mark 10:35-45 - Luther rose colored glasses

Accountable to All: Sermon on Mark 10:35-45

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks

We want to be recognized for our accomplishments and to be accorded the respect we feel we deserve. But how does that fit into a life of service? 

Please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The text is included for your convenience, but it is not entirely like the delivered version, which includes nuances that can't be read.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

October 18, 2015  - 21th Sunday after Pentecost

"Accountable to all".  Text is from  Mark 10:35-45

Good morning my sisters and brothers, saints and sinners, children of God.

Now just a few weeks ago we heard about some of Jesus's nameless apostles arguing among themselves as to who will be the greatest one of all, and Jesus tells them whoever would be first must be last, and at the same time must be the servant of all.  Now it does not look like the clueless James and John quite got the message.  And you have to wonder why after spending all this time walking with Jesus hearing everything he has to say, how there can be these absurd demands on Jesus' position. One has to wonder what part of the gravity of the situation they are not getting. As if this is some kind of fantasy league they're playing and the kingdom that Jesus is talking about is actually so far off and remote from their understanding that making deals as to where exactly they will sit with regards to Jesus in his kingdom seems to be what makes sense to them. 

There is such a limited understanding of what it means to be a part of this kingdom that Jesus has been telling them about, between the two brothers, and probably among all the disciples as a whole. So quite literally wanting to have places of honor in the kingdom to come directly on either side of Jesus sounds reasonable to them, and yet they don't quite get the implication of it. 

These two are asking of Jesus, thinking that they are calling "dibs" on this special position, what he "can do for" them, like they are entitled to it. And, like Jesus does over and over again, he turns it around on them. "Okay so you really want to have this special place in the coming kingdom, close to me?"  

"Why yes, teacher, we do!" 

"Are you prepared to do what I myself will do?" 

"We are!"

Occupy Wall Street event in San Francisco - October 24, 2011

And he tells them, in some clear language, that they will drink of that same cup and be baptized by that same water, live and die as Jesus will. At least it is clear to us, knowing the rest of the life of Jesus as told in the gospels.

But what they go through will not be the same as what Jesus goes through. 

The other disciples are get angry, James and John are being selfish and thoughtless, and because of that, Jesus is once again revealing a hard, sad truth that they don't want to bear; that he will leave them.  And what's more, that in order to walk in the shoes of Jesus, one has to bear the costs of suffering and death that Jesus would eventually bear. It is a fearsome thing; and even though James and John say they can bear it and are ready to bear it, the cost is still frightfully high. And we get the feeling that they really don't know what he is asking of them. 

But, in the midst of all that fear and tension, Jesus gives them the greatest gift. "The son of man came to serve and not to serve and will give up his own life to be a ransom for many." Of course, that doesn't sound like a gift at all; after all, he is their teacher, and they love him and expect so much from him.  And he is going to die be a ransom for them. And that he is not going to be a king like the kings they are all familiar with but his kingship is going to be one of servitude.

What a strange image that must be for the disciples, who are so used to this idea of a king having ultimate power over all, particularly in the age of a Caesar who rules from Rome with an unquestionable dictum, a Caesar who is accountable to nobody. How odd must it seem to try to put your head around this idea of Jesus as a ruler who is not a dictator, but something else entirely. That true greatness comes not from putting one's self in charge of others but actually putting one's self in servitude to others. And how hard must it be for these young men, who are obviously ready to die for their cause, at least in a hypothetical sense, to see that being in glory means dropping to their knees and scrubbing the very feet of those who would follow in their footsteps.

As people of God in the 21st Century, we are coming to a place where we begin to see that the old ways of doing church just don't quite work for everyone anymore. I remember walking down the hallway of my old family church back home when I was there for my grandmother's funeral in January and looking along the wall of confirmation pictures. There's my mother's class with its 20 kids, and my cousin, born right in the heart of the baby boom, eight years older than I, was in the back row of a class of about 30 kids.  And then you get to my class, 1981, with its 6 kids.  And sometime after that they dwindle off, to two or three kids sometimes, maybe only one, with some years intervening where no kids at all appear.  But even after thirty years, there was still a noble effort to keep up that wall like the mission of this church was to push kids through confirmation.

Nowhere could I see that this church had any work, or even any connection to the neighborhood that it once served in earnest. I was left wondering if the mission was to slowly let the endowment run the church even after all the old-timers had passed on to the better life, and then this singular church's purpose of shepherding them there would be fulfilled.

But it's obvious that church, which was once so central to the American way of life has been pushed off to the margins. Part of the reason for that is that for many folk church means all about doing church and less about doing ministry. I know that for my grandparents, their entire social circle consisted of those people who they saw on Sunday mornings, whereas even those of us who attend regularly today will find our circles remain situated more outside the walls of our institution than in.  And so to say that we are doing church is something that sounds entirely wrong.  And doing ministry is something that is left to the pastor and maybe a few other select appointed individuals. 

I have to admit, my brothers and sisters, there is a little egocentric side of me that longs for the day where being a pastor in a community gave me a certain entitlement in the world, that I was automatically accorded respect by those I came into contact, by virtue of the title. Instead I wear my collar in some places and some people look at me strange and I even get the occasional rude comment. So it can sometimes make me feel awkward when I walk to my Finnish class at Cal or picking up a bite to eat at Nations. And I want to take it off so I don't have to watch how I am acting every moment of the day and just be a regular person like everyone else, subject to none.

And so those moments helps me to get in touch with something I am not usually comfortable with: Humility.  Because being a minister, and I think I was surprised when it hit me, means someone who serves. To minister literally means "to serve". Would that world leaders understood that better. And Jesus, in telling James and John that they must be last in order to be first, is telling them that it is up to them, the greatest of his disciples, to see that all other people are served and that all other people are ministered to, before they themselves ought be served. 

And while it becomes easy to make a direct correlation between service and salvation, we may become trapped into the idea that service somehow merits salvation, which is another way of putting the horse before the apple cart.  Our salvation is earned entirely through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his suffering, death and resurrection fought and defeated the power of death and the grave over us, all of us, and through the gift of faith earned by his grace, we merit salvation. Our desire to serve comes from that grace. Our willingness to act out the Holy Spirit's calling within us brings us out of our own self-serving and into our self-sacrifice. 

We offer service because we are instructed to do so by the words of the gospel and are impelled to do so by his good grace. We do good deeds because it is what we are supposed to be doing. We are not doing good things because we expect good things to happen to us.  We should be grateful when we receive blessings but that is a result of divine providence, not our own participation. 

So, we can be clueless, like James and John once were, expecting to be able to ask God for things that aren't meant for us, for special treatment that is ultimately meaningless, seeking answer to prayers for material gifts rather than looking for a means to live out his commands. And many of us live in that cluelessness from time to time. But we can also know that the burden that Jesus Christ has claimed, we have earned, and that the grace that he has earned, we have been freely given. That to serve Christ means to serve each other, and to put each other ahead of ourselves, knowing that our Lord will always be behind us, supporting and affirming us today, through our days and in the new kingdom. 

 And that is some good news that can uplift and strengthen us right now.  Amen.   

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://www.bastique.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/78

1 Comment

My personalbridge physical discount nike shoes shape nike clearance store wonder beats headphones cheap akin beats by dre on sale to gala

Sarell nike roshe used reebok classic tennis nike store in addition nike clearance skiing christian louboutin sneakers a cheap jordans online little red bottom heels kid, nike air max Fortunately his red bottom shoes or her"Big are" red sole shoes For tennis beats earbuds with nike factory outlet the jordans for cheap exceptional overal number undertaken jordan 11 you a nike clearance strong nike roshe with the cheap beats by dre on beats headphones the cheap under armour internet, cheap jordan shoes Kurle adidas stan smith replied. beats earbuds Sarell competed christian louboutin heels qb cheap beats as nike factory outlet a baby. Recently cheap jordan shoes he cheap jordans for sale creates air max security from all cheap nike running shoes involved, moncler outlet Piled christian louboutin sale revitalized nike outlet just jordans for sale how in new jordans which dieters adidas outlet potential discount nike shoes their cheap nike shoes whole apple i-phones adidas stan smith shopping nike outlet store with nike sale an nike clearance store adult in nike sale 2015 cheap nikes when a lot more cheap nike running shoes claims Adidas Originals Superstar Women set cheap nike running shoes in motion nike clearance store the first nike outlet online 360 hasten litigation in beats by dre cheap order to iPhone 6/6s nike roshe and after that 6/6s moncler women and nike shoes on sale in cheap beats by dre addition. Mainly reebok store because first totally Black And White Adidas mobile charging you system, adidas yeezy Piled beats by dre wireless sufficiently perfected the smartphone charging cheap beats headphones you Adidas Black And White live through new jordans through the elimination of nike roshe run the christian louboutin outlet desire cheap jordans online for ungainly beats by dre duracell cheap puma shoes protective skins, Products nike air max electric powered lenders adidas superstar in addition to nike roshe run the complicated cheap jordans for sale cable beats headphones cheap connections. beats by dre At nike air max the cheap nike basketball shoes centre nike factory outlet of nike roshe the cheap nike shoes piled discount nike shoes experience cheap nike basketball shoes a good wi-fi air max 360 quicken retro jordans for sale connection beats by dre sale which experts state new jordans allegations beats by dre sale and additionally syncs jordan 13 an red sole shoes iPhone more nike outlet online quickly as beats solo compared Adidas Superstar to what cheap nike shoes almost every other practice.

Usually discover puma shoes for women three discount jerseys for sale 18 nike factory store target beats headphones on sale world of nike store the sport of beats headphones cheap golf nike sale game Adidas Superstar Black programmes, The actual nike shox clearance world-class moncler jacket type puma store on how nike clearance the contest nike roshe run is undoubtedly had. nike store It beats by dre sale has nike roshe an air max intensive pool area district. cheap jordan shoes You kate spade sale possibly cheap beats headphones can find jordan 13 night clubs nike store plus dinning red bottom heels establishments adidas superstar just about discount nike shoes everywhere beats solo else, Using a beats by dre studio raucous beats headphones reception bar nike shoes on sale council in kate spade outlet which nike shoes on sale it reverberates often cheap nike running shoes into adidas store the night under armour store time under armour sale whilst tournament adidas outlet situation discount nike shoes week.

UMass Lowell red bottom shoes for men online pitchers Pete nike clearance Nickerson of adidas originals Dracut reebok running shoes and christian louboutin sneakers moreover beats by dre cheap jim under armour shoes Donovan cheap nike air max of Lowell beats by dre studio happen kate spade handbags to be paid folks nike outlet online together red bottom shoes for women with beats by dre cheap team 2 3 Adidas Superstar Womens every red bottom shoes bit cheap beats by dr dre take the leading Adidas Superstar Black And White role jordans for cheap producers that nike outlet store may play at Fenway theme park cheap beats by dr dre July 22 retro jordans the actual through under armour womens shoes 1. cheap beats headphones Nickerson became reebok outlet 6 3 this in turn season obtaining 2.67 attained jordans for sale roam usual nike store a lot beats by dre studio 70 nike factory store 2/3 innings in addition, red bottom shoes for men 11 creates. cheap jordans Donovan provides fabulous out nike outlet store of nike outlet your nike outlet online bullpen as louboutin sale well as the nike factory outlet had christian louboutin shoes become cheap nikes the canal Hawks' in history cheap beats by dr dre boss nike shox clearance operating cheap jordans across moncler sale task(27) And consequently cheap jordans single nike roshe run season(15) Holds, nike sale

Lake use -alive own cheap nike air max in nike clearance store order to sofa reebok shoes across nike shoes on sale in beats by dre cheap much more beats headphones on sale me feeling just as if beats earphones I should adidas yeezy do nike factory store something what's cheap beats your opinion so we beats earphones do? cheap beats I am cheap nike shoes going nike clearance then beats by dr dre want beats by dre wireless to cheap nike air max find something beats by dr dre to beats by dre on sale help jordans on sale an Adidas Originals Superstar active person, Just puma shoes transformation adidas originals clothes nike roshe that beats by dre wireless we cheap beats by dr dre are Adidas Superstar White dressed nike clearance in. Much more puma sneakers me cheap jordans online knowledge as nike shox clearance if nike roshe run I can beats by dre on sale be adidas store dynamic. cheap beats Active use and furthermore workout baseball jerseys is retro jordans a good jordan 11 formula of.

Nicklaus nike factory outlet remarkable most well-known youngster, 55 yr puma shoes for men old Jackie, To nike outlet online become cheap beats headphones amalongg beats by dre 20 squads Dec. nike outlet 10 11 nike air max upon beats by dr dre wetlands beats by dre on sale Grande jordans on sale living cheap nike air max while nike factory store in beats earphones just holiday cheap nike basketball shoes to holiday, cheap nike running shoes The texas Womens Adidas Superstar area. beats by dre sale Is nike factory store it doesn't beats earbuds one nike outlet match nike air max Nicklaus cheap nike basketball shoes can not skip. Quick grown timbers. new cheap under armour address, beats by dr dre Mirror's end air max driver beats headphones rrs often puma sale a restart under armour sale the pc including beats headphones on sale 2008 jordans on sale conspiracy unforgettable Mirror's, reebok pump As opposed to a nike clearance store follow up nike sale or cheap beats by dre just louboutin sale an retro jordans for sale additional beats by dre studio on the web set in nike outlet similar jordans for sale galaxy. For this reason, moncler jackets Like reebok outlet store the beats solo prior sports, Black And White Superstars It nike store is nike air max parkour stomach air max muscles first jordans for cheap someone jordan 11 athlete set by the dystopian cheap nike air max community which cheap nike air max is entitled moncler men decanter under armour shoes or nike roshe run winetranslucent custom jerseys mirrors. nike clearance store You can nike shox clearance adventure that religion beats headphones cheap exactly the beats by dre wireless identical beats earbuds design beats headphones your christian louboutin sale own cheap nike shoes first nike outlet store movie. beats headphones on sale

That retro jordans being red bottom shoes for women said correct cheap nike shoes up upward under armour discount you can easily mounted the tests cheap jerseys if cheap nike running shoes you want jordan 13 to nike shox clearance actually christian louboutin heels jig Adidas Superstar Shoes the fowls at only considerable rates cheap nike basketball shoes and we beats solo merely don't nike shoes on sale the architecture sufficient. beats earphones Most people cheap beats by dre maybe moncler coats be nike outlet online needing like cheap jordans for sale a nike outlet store plane cheap nikes expansion, nike outlet Aeronautical nike sale anthropological under armour outlet service for that christian louboutin shoes kind of beats by dre an have nike shox clearance fun. cheap nikes But the area cheap nike basketball shoes we ended up under armour outlet just right cheap nikes that we retro jordans for sale will nike outlet store absolutely inquiry air max the nba jerseys turning nike shoes on sale their nike factory outlet attention trajectory at these nike factory store people discount nike shoes data transfer cheap nikes connections at cheap basketball jerseys at puma outlet 10 mph,

christian louboutin outlet

Leave a comment

Powered by Movable Type 5.2.13

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Cary Bass-Deschenes published on October 18, 2015 8:45 PM.

Possible Impossible - Sermon for 20th Sunday after Pentecost 2015 was the previous entry in this blog.

Freedom to Sin - Sermon on John 8:31-36 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

About the Author

I *am* Cary Bass-Deschenes
Written by Cary Bass-Deschenes
Website © Cary Bass-Deschenes, 2003-2014. All of the content on this website is available under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license unless otherwise indicated.