They went on from there and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.” Mark 9:30-41
My ancestors were forcibly made to leave their homes and walk to Indian Territory, now the state of Oklahoma. A thousand and more miles on foot, rejected from our home land which formed all our understanding and knowledge. We were rejected from our place by recent immigrants who thought they knew better what to do. So many died along the journey and the small children and women were the most vulnerable. Today, we are strong again, despite the behavior and cruelty of those Christian leaders who thought they understood freedom, and who mangled justice for their own gain.
Jesus told the disciples in very clear words what was ahead for him. They immediately began arguing over who was the greatest and who would take over leadership. He told them that leadership began with servant-hood, with a humble life, and the vision to welcome the least and the most vulnerable. Greatness comes from love, not from power or might. God invites us to lift up the most vulnerable and to see the real power in love which makes room for the other, setting aside fear and making love our priority.
Today, I ask God to help me be a servant. May God use our hands, hearts and heads for the healing of the world. May we not fear the stranger but rather be about making them a place in our families, in our communities, offering them welcome and support in their journey.