Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Mark 9:35 - If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.

Turning the World upside down

When you look at the world that we live in and then read or hear about the world God wants us to live in; It’s really no wonder that God had to send his Son to us to teach us God’s way.

There is really no time in our lives that we are taught that it is ok to be last, some of us have problems with being second! In our lives we are meant to progress and even that doesn’t mean climbing over others on the way to the top – it certainly means making sure that your own needs and desires are considered as important as everyone else’s. And isn’t that right? Isn’t that what equality is all about? And didn’t God make us all equal? So, if we are all equal, how can it be right that we be last?

Amazing how good we get at arguing our case.

Jesus came into the world in the most un-godly way – born of a woman of no account, in the worst of conditions and most unremarkable of places. The world would almost accept it if this pathetic start then soared into astonishing and overpowering God-ness but it never did. Jesus kept more than his feet on the ground; he spent plenty of time on his knees and in polite society’s version of a pig sty; with the unclean and the ordinary; caring and loving and healing; and telling them how blessed, how good they were, rather than how good he was.

You see bits of God-ness like this in many of the caring professions; nurses, teachers – and we all know people, friends and family, who improve lives and attitudes not through pride in who they are but by letting others know that they are important; that they have talent; that they matter. Hopefully we have all been inspired at some time by someone like this, by actions that put others first. Hopefully we have gone on to treat others the same - even something as simple as when people ‘remember’ their manners – letting someone go first through a door or letting them have the last biscuit.

‘Before you’ is a simple phrase, But it is a phrase that turns the world upside down. If I want you to be happier, more content, more fulfilled than I am; and then if you wish the same for me and we all wish it for each other; then the world will blossom in a race to be last.

Before you

Even in our faith journey we have ambition, it is the way the world makes us. We know we have to try to be more. Our saints tell us this over and over again – Teresa, Chiara, Francis, Julian – all tell us we have to be more…

We have to be more …less

We have to see that God regards service to others as above everything else except service to Him (which is a Catch 22 position anyway as in doing one you are drawn to do the other)

Particularly to do this in love rather than obligation; to be more accepting of others, to put their needs first, to do this willingly and without expectation of reward – gives us our reward. A sense of peace and completion that makes our lives naturally, spiritually better.

Is it easy? No, far easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk – if I could choose who to be nice to… who to put first….but that’s not the challenge.
And perhaps that is where we need ambition – in rising to the challenge of what God asks of us; to follow the example of the God who, according to the world, never amounted to anything.

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