Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
When I was a little girl, I would pretend that I was the queen and my little sister was my servant. This game worked well, for me, as I wore my plastic bejeweled crown and bossed my sister around. Then one day she realized that she did not have to listen to me anymore. We became bitter enemies for a little while, until I began to accept her as my equal.
Business-as-usual in much of our world is an established hierarchy, where some are given (or take) power and others submit to, fear, or resent that power. Business-as-usual immediately creates inequality, and this inequality divides people into an “us versus them” reality.
James and John understand business-as-usual. They know that Jesus is a powerful leader and can spark a revolution in Rome. They want to be right by his side, sharing in the power and the glory. What they do not understand is that Jesus has been teaching and living that business-as-usual is not divine business. He shows us, through his life and more explicitly through his death, that worldly power is dominion over while spiritual power is service with.
Following Jesus is not business-as-usual. Jesus came “not to be served but to serve.” In following him we are called to let go of our desire to control and have power over others, and instead to serve. How does Jesus’ understanding of power change how we structure our governments, our communities, our churches, and our households?
Being the queen worked in my favor for a moment. A relationship based on the power of love and service created a meaningful relationship for a lifetime.
Jennika Borger, chaplain
Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania