It's been a very long time since I posted. I've been juggling sickness and classes, but I think I'm back now. Here is a sermon I preached for my Preaching Mark class based on tomorrow's gospel text.
The Holy Gospel according to Mark.
“What did you say? What were you talking about?” Many of us have heard the all too familiar answer, “Nothing.” Of course that’s because the children know they have been caught. The disciples’ responded to
The setting is
In verse 33, “After
Verse 34 says, “But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.” This was not an abnormal thing for the time, to compare rank and dignity. The operative social system in
The summons was, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." What’s going on here? This was a call to a role reversal unlike any other. Here was a summons to service.
Service is good, but is that what most parents think of wanting for their children? We want them to go to school, get a good education, so they can get a good job. Yes, it’s important for them to be happy and to be good people. But to be last, to be servant of all is not the way we would imagine life for our children. It counters the nature of our social order.
What kind of servants is
“He took a little child and had him stand among them.” Much as the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures did,
In this one statement,
In the honor/shame world of
There is also an implied hierarchy in this last verse: God with
As God summons us for service, how will we respond? Will our concern be the pecking order? Are we jockeying for position on one committee as opposed to another to have greater leverage? Or will our concern be how we are to answer