The Sunday of the Passion (C)
“The One Who Serves”
April 14, 2019
Peace be unto you from the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Christ Jesus. Amen.
Dearly Beloved of the Lord,
I know that you join me, first, at the start of the Lenten Season and then again, at the start of Holy Week, truly desiring to make the most of this time. To not let it pass without due consideration and retrospection. To, in any way we can with the help of the Holy Spirit, make this time more meaningful for us than ever before.
But how does that happen? How do we do that? To understand the all-important aspects and impact of Christ’s Passion? And that includes the concept and reality of “servanthood” in that it plays a key role in all of this.
From the outset, let’s be clear about a few things. Holy Week is all about God serving man. It is all about the Son of God dying for all mankind. There is no greater service… no greater love than this. Not then… not now… not ever.
And to think, what brought God’s service to man is man refusing to serve God and instead wanting to be like God. In the Garden of Eden before the Fall there was perfect harmony. There was a perfect relationship between God and man as Adam and Eve served God and tended to the Garden which they had been graciously given to live in and enjoy.
Oh, how after the Fall into Sin serving and servanthood were looked upon with disdain… with a condescending eye. That’s too bad because in God’s eyes, the ultimate vocation for all men and women is that of servant and this, first and foremost, in serving the Lord our God and then, also, serving our fellow man… all of our fellow men.
One of the most endearing terms and titles that we have as human beings is that of being “God’s servants.” We see it mentioned throughout Holy Scripture. Indeed, it is referred to in the appointed texts for today.
In Deuteronomy, chapter 32, we are told that “The Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants,” and this even after those servants, His servants, seek to do things according to their own power and might… even after they will go again and again after false gods. (Deuteronomy 32:36-39) What love this is! Divine love. Perfect love.
Although in an imperfect way, we can nevertheless come to a greater understanding of servanthood… what it means… what it involves and entails… the sacrifice that goes along with the same… as we, by the power of God, seek to truly serve our Lord and our fellow man.
Quite simply, serving… being a servant… demands a lot out of you… takes a lot out of you. It is giving your all. Giving God your all. Giving others your all.
Something most people throughout time and especially today, are not willing to do because, guess what, they are more concerned about the self… more concerned about themselves… their life… their career… their happiness and fulfillment… their desires and aspirations.
To a great degree, servanthood is a lost art… a lost practice… done, in most cases, only when time allows… still done when guilt sets in and we feel the need to help out in some way for some amount of time, but certainly not anything requiring a real commitment and an ongoing one at that.
Such is the mindset of many. That which flies in the face of what the Apostle Paul urges us to have as he declares, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Dearly beloved of the Lord, have the “servant mind” among yourselves… that which is yours in Christ Jesus… that which allows you and me, more than ever before, to understand and appreciate the extent of our Savior’s servanthood. What He did. What He gave. What He bore on the cross in service to you, me and all mankind.
To do so will take your breath away and drop you to your knees realizing that what Christ did is redeem us. What He gave was His holy body and blood in ransom for our very souls. What He bore on the cross was the immense weight of our sins and feeling the full wrath of God for the same.
Christ said it all in the last verse of our Gospel reading. “I am among you as the one who serves.” (Luke 2:27)
And that He did. The nature and extent of His service our Lord knew full well that day as He entered Jerusalem at the beginning of the week of all weeks.
Thanks be to God that the nature of His service and the extent of the same we know as well at the start of this week. What a great privilege and honor for us to consider all that unfolds in the days ahead… to keep our eyes on Jesus… He who is our servant… our blessed Savior who we can never thank enough, worship enough.
May God dwell richly in us in the precious days ahead. Amen.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“The One Who Serves” 4/14/19 The Rev. Mark H Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL.