Matthew 20:28

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.

We all begin this life being served.  If we live long, chances are, we will end this life in the same way.  In between, if we live well, we learn the art of serving.  At the heart of a Christian understanding of God is the claim that, in Christ, God comes to us as the One who serves.  It is in serving one another that we become God-like.

When service becomes slavery, God and humanity are lost.  In slavery, a way of being that is essential to our humanity becomes a means of oppression and degradation.  That Christianity was employed as long as it was to legitimate the evil of slavery is one of the most tragic legacies of our history.  Perhaps, along with the legitimation of violence, it is ‘“the” most tragic and shameful legacy we bear. Slavery is a violence that destroys the soul. The shadow of that evil still looms large.

Lord, have mercy.  

As we move through our day, we will be served by others and we will serve one another.  In our households, as we move into the public sphere, as we transact business of all kinds, serving will be evident in countless interactions.  Even though there will often be a fee for the service we receive, when we experience someone who is truly serving, offering themselves to us, we know “you can’t pay for that.” 

Pay attention to those who serve you—in ways large and small.   Don’t let that gesture pass by unnoticed, unrecognized. 

Service is how God shows up.

Prayer:  Gracious God, help me to see you in all who serve me this day…help me to be for others, in every opportunity I have to serve, a sign of your Presence.  Amen.

From the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis (sent to me by Howard Conant)

From the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis (sent to me by Howard Conant)