Thursday, July 24, 2008

Servanthood is not denial of self: The Eve of the Feast of St. James the Apostle


O gracious God, we remember before you today your servant and apostle James, first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the Name of Jesus Christ; and we pray that you will pour out upon the leaders of your Church that spirit of self-denying service by which alone they may have true authority among your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The above is the Collect for the Feast of St. James the Apostle (the Greater). I sincerely pray for the leaders of the Church, that they may have true authority in the spirit of self-denying service.

While some of our Bishops were walking through London to bring attention to the suffering of the poor (but honestly, one picture I saw --it only looked as though 50 or so Bishops were participating.... no throng of 600) and to renew the commitment to the MDGs, other Bishops were grand-standing and asking for new provinces to be created that they might rule with greater and more sincere purity than those filthy Bishops of Canada and TEC in North America.

I am tired, exhausted of the rhetoric. I am sick with the grandstanding, thievery and lies. I think we all are--it has become a nonsensical theater of power struggles, lording and maneuvering played out on the backs of the people they have been called to serve and lead into true servanthood.

And true servanthood is not any part of laying down who we are, giving up, denying of self--the very persons made in the image of God. True servanthood is an employing, a gracious pouring out, a giving-sharing of who we are to the glory of God.

That kind of pouring out is not possible when that same self is demeaned, denigrated or denied.

I pray that our Bishops act. Soon. Sitting on this fence is pure hell. For everyone.

The Gospel for the Feast of St. James the Apostle is from Matthew 20:
Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Hmmm--I wonder what our Bishops will think of when they hear that....

1 comment:

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

"And true servanthood is not any part of laying down who we are, giving up, denying of self--the very persons made in the image of God. True servanthood is an employing, a gracious pouring out, a giving-sharing of who we are to the glory of God.

That kind of pouring out is not possible when that same self is demeaned, denigrated or denied."

Yes, I agree whole-heartedly.

Ironic about that gospel, isn't it?