Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost September 20, 2015
What a wonderful story this is about truly great people of God! Jesus has begun to speak about his death, and those who love him have started to argue about which of them will be the greatest when Jesus is gone.
It reminds me of the popular television show on Fox that is called Empire. It is a story of the drama of the founder’s family as they fight to win control of his company when he dies. I guess that the one who proves that he or she is greater than the rest shall win.
Which one of Jesus’s disciples shall be greatest? Well, to answer that question, Jesus gives two prescriptions in our Gospel text for today. First, the one who desires to be great must become the least important and the willing servant of all. We must give up ambitions of greatness and choose the life of servanthood. Second, the servants’ service must be lovingly focused on the welfare of those that are like children in our societies. A child who has no parent or guardian is most vulnerable, and likewise we must seek to serve the most vulnerable people in our world.
Jesus says, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me” (Mark 9:37).
Nigel Powell, pastor, United Moravian Church, New York, New York