Prayer: O Lord, teach us Your ways so that we may walk in Your truth. Mold our hearts to love You for You comfort and help us. Help us to grow in our faith so that we may know that Your love for us is boundless. Amen.
St. Luke 9: 46 – 48
Instead of asking questions of Jesus and strengthening their faith, the disciples do what we all do… they try to ignore the burning issue by creating an issue of their own that can never really be answered.
The disciples begin arguing over which of them would be the greatest. Does Jesus thwap his head against a wall and say, “Oy vey!” Jesus realizes that discerning who is the greatest is important to the disciples.
Jesus reaches into the crowd and places a child before the disciples. Then Jesus says, “Whoever accepts this child as if the child were me, accepts me. And whoever accepts me, accepts the One who sent me. You become great by accepting, not asserting. Your spirit, not your size, makes the difference.” (St Luke 9: 48 The Message Navpress, 2005).
How frequently in our Churches today do we ignore the burning issue by creating another issue that can never really be answered? Far too frequently in some Churches. This is how Churches slide into conflict which leads to people leaving the Church which leads to the finances of the Church becoming unstable which leads to frustrated Board of Managers that they can’t keep up the repairs of the Church. And so on.
Remember the words of Jesus…. “you become great by accepting, not asserting”. This is so important for Sessions and Ministers to remember. This does not mean that people become a door mat and let everyone walk all over you. Remembering the words of Jesus means if an issue comes before Session and the Session is split in it’s decision then time needs to be taken for prayer. One side should not declare they are right and the other side is wrong. Nor should the Elders say they agree to disagree. This only causes greater troubles later. Take the time for prayer and reflection upon the issue. Reflect on how the decision will affect the Church in the future. Your spirit – your faith, not your assertiveness makes the difference.
During the time of Jesus, children had no authority and no rights. By taking a child and setting the child before Jesus, the disciples are presented with a great illustration. Did it make them step back and ponder their argument? We aren’t told but the impact of seeing a child and Jesus telling them that anyone who accepts the child also accepts God would make anyone go, “humm”. And going “humm” is a good thing.
Prayer: Lord, we pray that the Church may be the Church of truth, unity, and peace. Remember us in Your love, O Lord. Give Your grace to all those who Minister and lead Your Church. Remember us in Your love, O Lord. Give Your grace to us this day so that we may know that our faith and our spirit will make Your Church whole. Amen.