This post is an opportunity in which we as a whole community can participate in our monthly Celtic worship and experience the way each theme works in our church, in our homes, and in our lives. This coming Sunday at 11:30 AM on 20 January 2019, in our usually place of worship, we have before us a portion of the biblical text in which to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest. This outline will help us all think a bit more deeply about how God is calling us in a formation of a vision for the Anglican Church in Freiburg. Remember, it is a journey! The structure that is outlined here is one where we get a brief picture of the reading, followed by some core idea that highlights the passage. I, Christopher, will offer a few of my own thoughts in regard to the passage and our community, and leave you with some questions that might be a starting off point for discussions around your home tables after Sunday worship as you enjoy a day of rest and re-creation.
Our reading will be taken from Matthew 20.26 which is only just a small sample of a marvellous passage. I really think that verse 25-28 sets a larger scene and is likely a more familiar context. The passage speaks of a reversal of leadership that seemed foreign, and remains a somewhat foreign concept in this age.
The central ideas:
The historical context of this passage shows that God’s kingdom requires a different point of view. When many had experienced a Roman reign that claimed divine authority with might and majesty, Jesus turns things, as N.T. Wright has described, the right way up, where the servanthood of Jesus is the path of glory. One only needs to think of the mocking of Jesus with a purple robe and crown of thorns placed upon him prior to the crucifixion. Another reminder of servant ministry is to recall the ‘orders’ of the church. The Deacon, with their colourful stole slung over one shoulder and across the chest as a symbol of their ministry of service, much like Jesus when preparing to wash the feet of his disciples at the last supper.
Some brief thoughts:
A style of misinformed belief, which has become more popular in some areas clashes against this message of leadership in the gospel. The ‘prosperity gospel’ which in simplistic terms suggests that God rewards good people with financial riches and positions of power speaks conversely with Jesus’ ministry of servant leadership. It is thoroughly unpopular to serve or to be demoted to the point that preachers of the ‘prosperity gospel’ claim that their amassed wealth is due to God’s provision and a justification of doing God’s will. The leadership that is clearly advocated in our reading suggests some wholly other way of viewing leadership, ministry, and service.
Around your Table:
For some of us we share meals with a generation of people around the table as small children gather with parents and extended family. Others will often eat alone, so this section of the letter is meant to be adaptable to your own setting. We will try and focus our Sunday morning time around some of these questions as well.
- How do we experience God as servant?
- What might the world look like if our governments took the view that service was the highest form of duty? Would we observe any change?
- Jesus often leads his disciples by example. In what way do we, as a church, lead by example? Where are we in service with, and for, others?
- What example of service might you have to share?