Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:20-28
I won't leave for General Convention until after the Fourth of July bicycle parade, which is a big event in our family. This year, there are lots of challenges ahead for us as a church, what with budget shortfalls, big looming issues and anxiety over the future. We will have to reinvent and re-imagine our work lives and our church lives, and that is hard to do for people who like to say "but we've always done it that way!"
Change is hard and real sacrifice with no reward in sight is even harder. Trusting that God will be in the midst of us as we redesign and rebuild is had for some to see. But the work of the Holy Spirit is always about bringing new and surprising life our of the broken and the dead, breathing possibility and hope where there was nothing but fear.
The disciples do not want to hear what Jesus has to say. As they make their way to Jerusalem, they want more glamor and fame, not humility and servanthood. They wanted the bright summer of their ministry to keep on. They ached to be important and not slaves or victims. And Jesus, knowing what was to come, encouraged them to understand service and change as the gifts from God, the mark of God's true love in our lives. We are invited to embrace the change, the loss and the re-buildings as gifts from God, as a sign of the presence of the Spirit, and new life coming our way.
Today, I ask God to help me greet the changes ahead with joy and compassion. Help me to look tenderly on those who ache for the loss of power, to be patient with those who are fearful in these times, and to come to the aid of those who feel they are perishing. May we know God's love and presence in our lives as we care for others. May we be given the strength and the power to walk through anxious days, trusting God to provide more than we can imagine, as we are willing to be broken and remade for the reign of God.