Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 13 of Advent - "The wondrous strangeness of God"

Day 13 of Advent
Friday in the 2nd week of Advent


Readings
Psalm 31
Isa. 7:10-25
2 Thess. 2:13-3:5
Luke 22:14-30


click HERE for today's readings


"The wondrous strangeness of God"


Just after Jgesus institutes the Eucharist by his sharing of bread and wine with his disciples they start to bicker - obviously not quite getting what Jesus was trying to show them.  They began to bicker about who would be regarded as the greatest.  I can imagine in my mind's eye Jesus sitting there, watching this bickering going on, and trying to decide whether to step in and get in the midst of it, or let them go at it for awhile.  Jesus steps in and, again, challenges the very assumptions of what it might mean to be "greater" or "lesser" in God's Kingdom.  The one who is greater, is, paradoxically, the one who serves.  The one who will give up his life for his friends will be the one who is, incredibly, the one who is the Son of God.


Jesus not only turns the tables on the hierarchy of the time, he also mixes up all the assumptions and norms that had become idols.  He does not merely turn the hierarchy on its head - making the lesser the greater and the greater the lesser, but redefines what it is to be greater.  This is not a mere revolution on human terms - it IS that - but it is also an entire redefinition of "great" and "less" and "servanthood" and "kingship."


The one who was born in a stable, to an unwed mother in an occupied land among animals and strange visitors would be the one who would, in the end, become the shocking savior who serves.  The incarnation of God as human was surprising enough as a concept, but then the reality of Jesus birth was stranger still, and the promise of "greatness" for those who serve is the ultimate example of the wondrous strangeness of God.


~The Rev. Peter M. Carey


Luke 22: 24-30 
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25But he said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28'You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

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