Sermon Notes for Sunday 21st. October 2018.
Lord of Light, shine upon these words the very truth of your being, that we may read and be brought into deeper relationship with you. Amen.
Job 38:1-7. God answers Job, questioning where he was when God created the earth, who orders the clouds and lightning and can create rain, and who provides food for wild animals and birds.
Psalm 104:1-10, 26. In praise of God’s glory and majesty, for the way God established the earth and commanded the waters, and for the way God has filled the earth with God’s creation.
Hebrews 5:1-10. High priests offer gifts and sacrifices on behalf of the people and deals with them gently, because he is aware of his own weakness. In the same way, Jesus was appointed by God, and offered prayer for his life to God, who saved him. Now he offers salvation to those who trust him.
Mark 10:35-45. James and John ask Jesus to be allowed to sit at his right and left when Jesus enters glory. Then after assuring them that they will share in his suffering, Jesus teaches all the disciples that those who want to be great among his disciples must be the servant of all, just as Jesus came to serve and not be served.
The Reverend Tania writes,
What does greatness mean?
In the Lectionary this week we are confronted with God’s greatness as God questions Job, but we are also faced with the greatness of the suffering servant who is persecuted and suffers for the sake of others. We see God’s glory revealed in creation, but we also encounter God’s glory in God’s compassionate rescue of those who cry out to God.
We recognise the greatness of Jesus whom God has appointed as a high priest because he journeyed through suffering and is able to offer salvation. And we learn that those who are great in God’s Reign are those who are willing to be the servants of all – just as Jesus came not to be served but to serve.
The contrast between the God of creation and the suffering servant, Jesus, is a powerful way for the Lectionary to address the question of greatness. While God has all the power and glory that the name implies, even God does not express God’s greatness in domination and conquest.
Rather, in the incarnation, God’s glory and greatness are revealed through humility, service and the embrace of suffering. For those who seek greatness on God’s terms, we must expect that the same should be true for us – and this is exactly what Jesus taught.
The challenge for us this week is to decide whether we can find the courage to define greatness in this way, and, if we can, to live as “great ones” in God’s Reign.
May we reject any expression of faith or worship that glorifies systems of wealth, power and instant gratification, and may we embrace again the worship of humble, selfless service.
Prayerfully, Rev. Tania.