The following is part of the sermon I delivered at Buffalo United Methodist Church
Jesus also says in Mark 9, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all, and servant of all.” A Servant-of-all is the servant with the lowest rank of all the servants – the one who would be allowed to eat only when everyone else has eaten. The child and the servant-of-all have much in common.
We are not only called to welcome the oppressed and lost as if they were Christ, but we are also called to become like them – a servant-of- all – as Christ is.
Imagine a banquet where all of the honored guests are the people we have talked about today. Imagine the preparers of the food and those who serve are the Disciples of Christ, picking up a towel and metaphorically washing feet.
My church has a dinner each Thursday for the homeless and marginally homeless in our downtown neighborhood. The diners are individuals and families who are living at the Mission down the street or even on the street itself. Some of them are ill or hurting. I’m sure you’ve heard about the opioid epidemic in our town – some of those who attend are addicted to drugs or have family members who are. This free meal is prepared and served by members of our church or sometimes other nearby churches, or by the United Methodist students from Marshall or by the members of the nearby Islamic Center.
This is an image that is the opposite of arguing about who is the greatest. This is the radical discipleship of Christ, where the leader is the servant and the guest of honor is the least among us – according to how society would define him. This is the kingdom of God that Christ calls us to build. This is the radical nature of the upside-down life of carrying a cross.
This is the good news.
This is what we may not want to hear, but what will bring us life – real and joyful life.
This week, how will you act upon these words of Christ – who will you greet who everyone else would ignore? Who will you serve? How will you act as Christ this week to those who need to see him? How will you be a disciple this week?