Today's Lectionary Text
Hear what the Lord says:
“O my people, what have I done to you?
“With what shall I come before the Lord,
John 13:31-35When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Both of today’s texts have a critical message for those who would be followers of Jesus: “Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God” and “I came to serve, not to be served.” For most of my life, I can say that I’ve done my best to follow Jesus and to seek justice and love mercy and to walk hum, er -- walk humb, er -- walk with God. It may be apparent that I’ve had some issues with humility in my life, particularly when I was young. I had a strong need for achievement, and in high school, I strove to be No. 1 academically and musically, while at the same time going to church and professing faith in a Savior who said “whoever would be first must be last.” When considering colleges after high school, I narrowed the choices to two -- George Fox, a small Friends college in Oregon, and UCLA, an enormous school nestled in between Beverly Hills and Bel-Air, two of the wealthiest communities in the country. And yes, there were lots of swimming pools and movie stars. I chose UCLA and looked to become one of the rich and famous. Thoughts of humility and living a life like Christ faded away as I sought to achieve my goals.
Unfortunately for my dreams, it was not easy to be No. 1 at anything anymore, and as life began to knock me around a bit, I began to descend into alcoholism. Fortunately for me, I found myself in AA, which is where I finally understood humility when I went to my knees and asked God to take control of my life, and I began the ascent out of a self-serving life into serving others, and I could finally say that I began to walk humbly with my God (at least sometimes). Humility is not an easy journey for most of us (look at the disciples!) and I found the following quote on a website this week that indicates I am not alone in letting humility lapse when things are going well, and only recover it when faced with great difficulty. Yet hopefully I remember who to walk with in times of trial.
"Humility is a strange flower; it grows best in winter weather, and under storms of affliction." -
--Rev. Galen Wray, retired elder
Prayer for Reflection
Gracious Lord, like some of your closest disciples, we often clamour to walk beside you in order to share in your glory and see our name in lights. Remind us that following you is learning to act like you, not just profess to be like you. Grant us the humility to lead lives of service. Amen.
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