Daily Office Readings for Thursday Proper 14 Year 1
“And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right and one at your left, in your glory.” (Mark 10: 37)
I must admit that there have been times that I have been self-serving. I think the older I get the less about me I am. But because I have been there I can recognize it in others. I now strive to be community focused in everything I do but it took some pondering.
The lessons in the Gospel and the Old Testament are about people who are trying to secure higher positions for themselves. In 2 Samuel Absalom did all he could to sway the people to make him king over Israel. Absalom said moreover, ‘If only I were judge in the land! Then all who had a suit or cause might come to me, and I would give them justice.” (2 Samuel 15:4)
In our Gospel passage James and John try to advance their status in Jesus’ Kingdom by asking Jesus for places for honor for themselves. Of course the other ten get angry when they find out what James and John were up to. As well they should.
We should just be happy in our own stations and if our communities want us to take on more responsibility they should ask us. I write this as we embark on next year’s elections. 2020 is going to be another record setting year of personal boasting and condemnation of the opponents, on all sides.
In my studies I have found that leaders are sometimes picked by their communities without campaigning. Two examples that I can think of are the Amish Elders and the Catholic Popes. Amish Elders come together, as I understand it, when a new elder is needed and cast lots representing elegible men from the community. And, it is understood that if you are a male member of the community in good standing your name may be drawn. It’s just the way it is.
Now for the Pope all the Cardinals from around the world gather at the Vatican and they select from among themselves and we then wait for the white smoke. But again every Cardinal understands that he is eligible to be elected Pope. In this case, there may be some desire on the part of certain cardinals to be Pope but they don’t get there by campaigning for it.
What would life be like if politics in this country were such that we picked from among our communities people we respected without any boasting on their part about wanting to be the leader? Unlike Absalom, James and John and almost all politicians of our time they brag about how fit they are while belittling rivals. And good money is lost in the mix of pomposity. Maybe as the castors of lots and makers of white smoke, we voters should just do our own homework about who we want to lead and not base it on what folk say about themselves. The more they talk the less they ought.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s People. John+