Footprints daily reflection: 7 April
What really matters.
Author: Rev Dr Heather Morris
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.’
Luke 22: 24-31
We pick up Luke’s account of the events of Holy Week just after Jesus has taken a cup of wine and some bread, given thanks and shared it with his closest friends. As he shares the bread Jesus says ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (19). Wouldn’t you think that hearing words like that would have prompted the disciples to be concerned about Jesus, “what did he mean ‘in remembrance’?” “Was Jesus blood going to be poured out?”. In response to such significant words and actions wouldn’t you think that that’s where the disciples’ thoughts and actions would be focussed?
But even in response to those words and actions the disciples’ thoughts, words and actions don’t focus on Jesus, they focus on themselves. “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest” (24). How quickly they get distracted from what really matters to what matters to them.
Let’s not be too hard on them because we can do it too. We think, pray and even begin to act on climate justice and then get distracted by self-interest, even initial good intentions can fade, to be replaced by a selfish concern for us and ours.
And in response Jesus tells his disciples about a kingdom characterised by service, sacrifice and concern for others and having invited them to live in accordance with the ways of that kingdom goes out towards the Cross.
Lord God we are sorry for focussing on what matters to us rather than what really matters. Rooted in the love of Jesus shown so clearly in the events of this Holy Week, we invite your Spirit to make us uncomfortable when we allow our prayers and actions to focus only on ourselves. Give us courage to live in accordance with the ways of your kingdom.
Heather Morris is a Methodist minister currently serving as Secretary of Conference. She lives in Belfast with her husband Neil.