Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Today’s text

Mark 10:35-37

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him [Jesus]. 'Master,' they said to him, 'We want you to do us a favor.' He said to them, 'What is it you want me to do for you?' They said to him, 'Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.'


And it is glory that they want. Why?

Is the ego’s drive for admiration and power an inevitable part of being human? Or is this only a ‘male’ thing?

When my daughter, Rachel, was a small child she would take my face and her hands and insist that I focus directly on her, not on her and my book, the newspaper or another conversation.

Rachel wanted me to let her know she was utterly important to me, important enough to give her my undivided attention, my mind and heart.

But these two, James and John, want to sit beside the seat of power, assuming (and completely misunderstanding) Jesus is about to become some kind of king or ruler to whom others bow down.

They did not seek the undivided attention of one who loves them. They wanted to share in Jesus’ power so that those ‘below’ them would show them deference.

Of course, this angered Jesus’ other followers …because they didn’t want these two to be higher, greater, more important than they were.

They were tripping over their egos, too.

The ego is a heavy burden. We want to feel important, respected. Good enough, but ego always likes to compare, so that with self-satisfaction we can say, “I am more than others … smarter, more important, better at what I do,” … fill in the blank.

Ego loves to distance itself from others and then admire that vertical distance because it establishes that we are somehow superior and can prance a bit. It’s a subtle game, and most of us fall into it at various points in an average day.

I think I escape it best when I can lose myself in someone else’s needs and story, or perhaps when there is work I enjoy. Sometimes it happens when I sit with someone who allows me to be totally human or fragile … whatever I am at the moment.

I sink into such times, forgetting how I am doing or how I appear, and I just savor the moment of work or conversation.

There is great freedom in such moments because somewhere in the process I drop the heavy burden of ego that distracts me from being simply there, present to whomever and what ever I am doing.

I can give myself to something or someone and, strangely, finding myself and my freedom at the same time.

This is a small taste of the freedom of Jesus, the freedom his friends and followers failed to taste most of the time.

He had the freedom to surrender himself in utter grace to the needs of another. This was his power and his glory, a glory that is still little understood and even less desired.

But it is the way of freedom, the path of peace for our hearts and the heart of a conflicted world.

Pr. David L. Miller

No comments: