Commentary on the Gospel of

Beth Samson - Creighton University's Campus Ministry
 

In praying with today’s readings I felt moved, inspired, and enlivened. Yet, the more I sat with them, the more I recognized the impact that power and privilege have in my engagement of the text. In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ disciples, his closest friends, long for a life forever, beside Jesus in heaven in the place associated with power – the right and left hands of Christ. Jesus says this is not how we should approach this: “Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Taking on a servant’s spiritual posture makes sense to me. I look to countless exemplars to guide and ground me in this way. I also recognize my relationship to this passage is not directly informed by my or my family’s experiences of oppression. My family was not forcibly enslaved or displaced or harvested fields for next to nothing as many of my Black, Latinx, and Indigenous neighbors and their families have.

To stand alongside, to give generously, to know and love one’s neighbor is what I believe Jesus calls us to in this passage. In using our free choice to give of our gifts, time, talents, and resources in service of neighbors, particularly those most in need, ultimately returns to God the generous Love we receive. This call forth does not involve perpetuating or glorifying forced enslavement or servitude, rather it invites us to choose humble spiritual postures that are not focused on self and what I can attain, but on the needs and realities of my neighbor.

Servant Song by Richard Gillard

Will you let me be your servant.

Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.

We are pilgrims on a journey.

We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you

In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping.

When you laugh, I'll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven,

We shall find such harmony
Born of all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony.

Will you let me be your servant.

Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.

Amen.

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