Mark 10:35-45 (NRSV)
Verse 35James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." Verse 36And he said to them, "What is it you want me to do for you?" Verse 37And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." Verse 38But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" Verse 39They replied, "We are able." Then Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; Verse 40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
Verse 41When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. Verse 42So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. Verse 43But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, Verse 44and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. Verse 45For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."
On January 26, 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. moved his entire family from their nice-sized home in Atlanta to a small third-floor apartment in the North Lawndale Community in Chicago. Many people were confused by this decision. North Lawndale was a community ravaged by poverty and the effects of virulent racism in the north. People couldn’t understand why King, one of the preeminent leaders in the country, would choose to live there in such simple conditions. King knew that it would be difficult to transform suffering that he himself was not willing to assume. This kind of self-giving love was very peculiar to a world that wanted to hang on to its power and privilege. Dr. King was participating in what Eric Law calls “The Cycle of Gospel Living,” This cycle is about living to serve, not to be served, seeking to lose our life and in turn have it be found, etc. May each of us find ways to participate in this cycle today as we seek to love boldly with a selfless peculiarity that confounds a world seeking power at all costs.
Cosmic Christ, you pour out your power and love for the sake of humanity. You join us in our own suffering. Help us to see you in your distressing disguises. Help us to find you in your unlikely hiding places. And empower us to follow you into your uncomfortable dwelling spaces. Amen.