Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 15
Wednesday in Second Week of Lent
“For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve”
Anyone who has worked with clay knows how fickle clay can be. Clay requires patient and gentle hands. It certainly is an apt metaphor for God patiently working on us. Thus today’s Jeremiah reading has God’s constant words to unfaithful Israel—“Return, everyone from his evil way,” (Jer 18:11). In essence Jeremiah is an Old Testament evangelist. But how does Israel respond? “Then they said, ‘Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah… let us smite him with the tongue,’” (Jer 18:18). Have you ever felt scared to share your faith? For good reason! We don’t know how people will react. Maybe they won’t “plot” against us, but they might spread terrible words about us, like we’re “too religious” or “fundamentalist.” I wonder if this is why Zebedee’s sons’ mother, in today’s Matthew reading, corners Jesus into giving her sons authority and power (Mt 20:21). Following Jesus requires humble suffering for the Gospel. But power can shield us from suffering for him. Interestingly, James and John can learn from Jeremiah what it means to suffer for righteousness’ sake. Jeremiah’s entire life was being a servant and slave for others so that they could know and experience God’s love. Indeed in Christ, God himself becomes a servant and slave for us so that we can know and experience his love—“for the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:27). So this lent, consider how you can be a servant and slave to others so that they can experience God’s love.
O God, who didst so love the world that thou gavest thine only-begotten Son to reconcile earth with heaven: Grant that we, loving thee above all things, may love our friends in thee, and our enemies for thy sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.