They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again."
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." And he said to them, "What is it you want me to do for you?" And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They replied, "We are able." Then Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:32-45
I spent yesterday getting the bulletin ready since my assistant Roberta is out with serious health issues. I have always found that the time leading up to Easter is always a challenging time. Disasters seem to abound. One church I served in lost the organ Holy Week and when my children were young, they always had off from school during this my busiest time. We can feel tested. And we can be overwhelmed. And yet I always make it to Easter and wonder what I was worried and frightened about.
The disciples, after hearing Jesus talk, of the treachery that awaited him, decide this is a good time to argue over who are his favorites. They regress to childish demands despite all the wonders they have witnessed. And we too, tend to regress and try to shore up our importance and our station when we feel threatened and when we are afraid. Jesus asks them to be servants if they truly want to be leaders. He invites us to do the same - when the fear overwhelms us and we find ourselves regressing - to be servant of others in God's name.
Today I ask God to help me serve others when I am feeling insecure and afraid. May we not regress to childish favoritism but rather rise up and go to work for others. May we find God's joy again today as we take care of the least among us and give them respect and honor.