A Season for Serving
This morning we are in the 15th chapter of Mark’s Gospel and the penultimate talk in the series that we began back in early August. And one of the things that struck me recently (chapter 12) was of the significance of the word servant: because if you weren’t there to hear it then in a nutshell, whilst looking at The Parable of the Tenants,we thought about the fact that the original hearers (chief priests, teachers of the law and elders) would have thought that this was a parable being told again their Roman occupiers. But then in verse two Jesus introduces a word that we could easily skirt over in our reading of the parable; and the word is this: servant.
And it is at this moment that the parable swings from revolutionary parable told against Roman occupiers, to equally revolutionary (yet highly controversial) parable told against the Jewish elite. Because in that word –‘servant’ – the minds of the original hearers would have been thrown back into the Older Testament andspecifically the prophets: people who were sent by God as His messengers to Israel. And the reason for this throwback was what to us may seem a fairly innocuous word but which to those first hearers made Jesus’ purpose in telling the story clear.
And now comes the jump: because this morning I find myself wondering whether if a parable were to be told in a few hundred years time what word could be used in reference to Christians (but without specifically naming us) but which would lead those hearing it to have a similar moment of realisation to that of Jesus’ original hearers in Mark 12 when they heard the word servant. And then it hit me: the word should be the same. Servant. Because we follow One whose life epitomises the word ‘servant’: even before He was born in Bethlehem, Jesus is being spoken of in a way which reveals the servant nature of His life. And throughout His life His call (and ours) to servant-hood is continuallymade clear.
And so as we continue to travel through this season of advent I wonder whether we might proactively seek ways in which we can follow in the Master’s servant footsteps as we prepare to celebrate one of the greatest acts of service ever seen: the birth of the second person of the Trinity, who came not to be served but to serve…
[If you are reading this in Ayrshire then there are numerous ways that you can get involved in serving throughout this Advent: please see our Give a Day Ayrshire Facebook page to find out more about our Give a Day Christmas projects; www.facebook.com/giveadayayrshire or if you need any other suggestions please do get in touch with the Southside office and we’ll do our best to point you in the direction of other opportunities to serve. If you are reading elsewhere then get in touch with your local church and I’m sure they’ll be able to point you in the right direction!]