Where do you rank in the league table of life? This was the question the disciples where arguing about as they passed through Galilee on their way to Capernaum. It was not a question posed by Jesus, rather by themselves; perhaps inherently hot wired into the human psyche from our hunter gather days.
I imagine Jesus walking ahead of them hearing the loud whispered bickering behind. He smiling to himself, absorbed by his Father’s creation all around, contemplating life against an eternal backdrop. They on the other hand oblivious to their surroundings, jostling with each other to rise up the ladder of life, only to be pegged down by the opinion of others.
Jesus counsels them. “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” He then takes a child in his arms (noting that in that culture children had no status or rank), and said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” Given the national news this week, I wonder how Jesus’ words resonate with those politicians promoted, demoted or sacked? If our leaders were to embrace the words of Jesus, how would it change their approach to their roles?
Jesus’ words though, are there to challenge us all, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves; within our families, workplaces, social groups and neighbourhood. How do Jesus’ words resonate with what is truly important for us? What does it mean for how we approach our lives?
The Revd Sonia Hicks was appointed President of the Methodist Conference for 2021-22. In her Conference address she focused on her theme for the year, “God’s Table: An Invitation for All”, reflecting on the racism and marginalisation she and her family have experienced and how the Church can respond to injustice and division in society today. Her theme reminds us that at God’s table rank has no place or meaning, thus allowing his grace to flow freely to one and all.