A short word before we get to anything else. This Sunday Knox Presbyterian had the great privilege of witnessing a member joining by confession of faith and four, yes you read that correctly, FOUR baptisms. It made for a delightful service but you will notice quite a lot of extra voices during the sermon. I don’t think you will have any difficulty hearing me but if you do, let me know and I’ll see about doing some audio cleanup.
This week we have one of my favourite Gospel passages to consider, namely Mark 10:35-45. When I was in college back in the day, I was required to memorize some passages of Scripture and I have to say the only one that has really stayed with me is Mark 10:45, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” is how I remember it (I typed that from memory, not sure which version it is from but probably the NIV (mostly)).
Our culture has some less than helpful views about servants and service. We tend to think of service as either the minimum-wage-service-industry-employee who sold us our fast food or as a servant from some period piece such as Downton Abbey or Gosford Park. Neither of these is particularly accurate, comprehensive or helpful. If we are stuck with these stereotypes we will never get anything of value from Jesus’ description of himself as a servant. Earlier in the Gospel lesson Jesus goes so far as to say the one who will be first among the disciples won’t just be a servant but a slave. Not at all what we are used to.
So, what does it mean to be a servant? Give one or both sermons a listen and let me know if I got it right.