Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Reigns yet He Serves

A joyous Easter to all who celebrate. And to those who celebrate Passover, I hope your observance of the defining moment of Judaism was a great experience for you. And to all of those celebrating anything else as I close my period of daily personal reflection during the spring of this year--may peace and serenity guide you.

Yesterday, I mentioned a part of the Holy Thursday mass in the Catholic church--a remembrance of Jesus washing his apostles' feet that I wanted to reflect on this day. Here is the text from the Gospel of John, Chapter 13, starting from about verse 3 and continuing through verse 15. This is long, but well worth the read:

So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples' feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
"Master, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later."
Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet."
Jesus answered him,
"Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me."
Simon Peter said to him,
"Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well."
Jesus said to him,
"Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all."
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, "Not all of you are clean."
So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another's feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do."

In contrast with this, I believe that the closing song for the mass at which the worship band plays tomorrow is He Reigns.  We can sing He reigns because he conquered death.  He has given us the opportunity for new life, and His word is the greatest of all.

Yet, the model he set was that He served.  Just because a person has power doesn't mean that he should use that power to overwhelm all.  Instead, the power can (and should) be used to serve all and to make the world most like the Kingdom of God.  That is what power should be used for.  

Service can be big things--for example I may have another person ready to join Back on My Feet after running with this gentleman off and on for the past year and constantly extolling the virtues of the organization.  Making a commitment to a consistent service is a wonderful thing.

Service can involve teaching the word of God.  That is certainly what Sunday school teaching is all about.  That is another big commitment.

But those are commitments.  Once I am in being "all in" is fairly predictable.  I think that an even better example of service in my life occurred at the grocery store today when I was there for the third time.  (Yes, I ended up making four different trips to the grocery store today.  Two different stores two trips each.)  And, I think that a short reflection on what happened at the grocery store today is actually a wonderful way to end my Lenten and now Easter Sunday reflections for 2012.  

I was walking through the grocery store.  I had picked up three different twelve packs--one non-diet caffeinated soda, one diet, and seltzer water.  I had also picked up the deviled ham I needed to turn our extra hard boiled eggs (long story) into deviled eggs.  And I was headed for the last thing I needed--ice cream.  As I walked along, I saw a woman in a motorized wheel chair accidentally bump into a display and knock it over.  While I should not have hesitated to help her, I did.  But then, I thought to myself-what kind of follower of Jesus would I be if I didn't help her?  She had tried to situate herself to get the display to stand up again, but it was going to be difficult for her.   So, I offered to help, carefully turned the display on its side first to avoid having all the items (I don't even recall what it was but it was in a personal care aisle) fall out, stood it back up, and picked up the few price tags that had been knocked down.  She thanked me and we wished each other a happy holiday.  

Do I deserve a gold star--no, of course not.  It should be second nature.  But it is events like this--little unexpected and unplanned opportunities to serve others in need when I clearly have the power to help and the other person is clearly in need that define whether I am truly a follower of Jesus.  The routine is nice but is hardly a test of character.  The spontaneous will probably be a much bigger determinant of my eternal salvation.  The spontaneous is a much clearer definition of my character.  No time to think--just time to do, or not.  And if I do not, then it would be a sin of omission just as bad as any sin of commission that I might commit.  

So, I take forward with me one final message about being "all in".  To be "all in" when trying to follow the Almighty does not involve might but involves service--first and foremost--in big predictable ways and in little unexpected ways.  All in all the time.  

No comments:

Post a Comment