James and John get a lot of flak from the other ten. Are the ten jealous of the brothers’ boldness—their ability to ask the question? Do the other disciples think them arrogant—that James and John are out of place for making such a request?
Jesus recognizes that James and John’s request comes from cultural context and from their environment. He gives his disciples a worldview and a practice that subverts traditional power structures. He calls his disciples to live in a way that differs from that of the world. We are not to abuse power but serve our neighbors, the poor, the earth God created.
Jesus knows being countercultural is a hard road in his day. We know that being countercultural is a hard road today. It is fraught with competing values that have louder voices and competing ideologies that have more resources. It is fraught with people peddling fear, anger, and shame.
We stand up to those voices, living calmly, lovingly, and with deep peace. We know our role and our place: to be servants to all, modeling gentleness and love, treating all God’s beloved children with respect and service.
Jesus equates greatness with servanthood. May we remember and use Jesus’ definition of greatness and live into our own greatness and servanthood. May we continue to know our place and our purpose. May we be surrounded by and participate in communities of care. May it be so.

God of extravagant greatness, may we be your servants in the world you have called good. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 10:35-45

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Lectionary Week
October 15–21, 2018
Scripture Overview

At this point in Job’s story, God has heard questions from Job and long-winded moralizing by three of Job’s friends, who have pronounced that his misfortunes are divine judgment. Now God has heard enough and declares that God’s perspective is superior to theirs. God has been there from the beginning, as the psalmist reiterates, so no one should claim to know God’s mind or speak on God’s behalf. Even Jesus, the divine Son of God, yields to his heavenly Father. Hebrews tells us that Jesus made appeals to God as the ultimate high priest and thereby became the source of salvation for those who obey him. In the Gospel reading, Jesus specifies that his approaching act of submission and service will allow him to become a ransom for us.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Job 38:1-7, 34-41. How do you continue to see the goodness of God when you find yourself in situations of intense suffering?
• Read Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c. Where do you catch glimpses of God? How significant is God’s natural world in your ability to see the holy?
• Read Hebrews 5:1-10. In what ways does the understanding of Jesus’ willing vulnerability while serving as high priest affect your interactions with others?
• Read Mark 10:35-45. When have you made a bold request of God? What was God’s reply?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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