Thursday, June 25, 2009

One who serves

"But I am among you as one who serves." Luke 22:26

My hands and body have been caked in dust and grime. Dirt is everywhere. I perspire with the effort of moving so that everything dirty clings to me. These are our belongings and I can't figure how they got so dirty. I can't imagine carrying other people's things, as our movers did, only to be covered in sweat and dirt. I get out the bucket and scrub everything that we have brought into our new home. I thought I had cleaned up pretty well before I left, but I am being proven wrong by every object. People are very messy and I can't imagine spending my life cleaning up after people on a daily basis. I would have to live with shock and horror every day.

Jesus overhears his disciples arguing about the greatest among them. Jesus suggested that rulers and kings lord their power over others and make them do their dirty work. But in God's reign, the greatest among us are those who serve. Those who clean up after other people on a daily basis, and who care for the least with tender mercy. Well, I think I am good at the tender mercy part but after these past few days, I have to consider again what it means to be a servant. Cleaning up other people's messes. I have spent days being repulsed by my own mess, and now God is speaking to my heart telling me to be a servant to all.

Today, I want to acknowledge that it is very hard to be challenged by the scripture. In the midst of the joy and hopefulness of this move, it is the grim reality that serving God requires a lot of clean up - clean up done with joy and not protest. Loving God and serving our neighbors is dirty work. And yet is was the work that Jesus was called to do, and the work he has given to all of us. Our ministries are defined by our willingness to deal lovingly with the messy details of others lives. We are called to be servants, following the instruction of Jesus. So today, I want to be happy in whatever mess I uncover. I want to know that Jesus is with me in the lowest of places and not just the lofty ones. And I ask for courage to face the messes before me with joy, counting on Christ to go with me all the way.

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