Radical sayings of Jesus:
Become a servant
Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 5 August 2018
This Sunday I left the church with an ear-worm. You know ear-worms, they are those snippets of tunes that get stuck in your head that you can’t get rid of. The earworm I was stuck with was not one of the hymns we sang but the words of the song Girlfriend in a coma by the Smiths to the tune of Tiptoe through the tulips. I blame Cutare Steve. The earworm went like this:
I’ll get round to why I got that particular earworm later in the blog. But first a picture:
Churchwarden Andy found this picture, which is the oldest known photograph of Holy Trinity Church. If you stand in the location where the photograph was taken, Wentworth Street, Huddersfield, the cottage in the foreground is gone, replaced by Victorian terraced houses which fully obscure the view of the church.
Back to the earworm … it was because of something said in the sermon.
Christianity is about how to win by losing
The passage in question was from Mark’s Gospel, 10:35-45.
The background here is that this was the third time that Jesus had spoken of his death, yet still James and John were thinking, “This is it, the kingdom of God is about to come now,” and asked for the best places in the new Government to come, to be Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary to Jesus’s Prime Minister. The other disciples are indignant at this, not because they thought that James and John were wrong, but because they got it in first.
They. Just. Didn’t. Get. It.
We don’t get it either, We act as if the best way to follow Jesus is to be upwardly mobile. To get the bosses job. But that is not Jesus’s way, rank does not rest in hierarchy. Jesus’s way is the cross, Jesus’s way is downward mobility, the position of a slave. Christianity is about how to win by losing. It is not about being influenced by Jesus, it is about following Jesus: The way of Jesus is the way of the cross, the way of death.
We can pick and choose the bits of the Bible we like, but that is not the Gospel, that is not following God.
If your God never disagrees with you, you might well be worshipping an idealised version of yourself – Tim Keller
Trying to follow Jesus is whilst going for personal glory is like the part of the radio panel game, I’m sorry I haven’t a clue, where they sing one song to the tune of another: It is like singing the words of When I survey the wondrous cross to the tune of Teddy bear’s picnic. It does not work.
Which brings this blog full circle. Thanks for the ear-worm, Steve.