I’ve led a number of service projects and mission trips. The first thing you learn is that you have missed an important point if all these experience are just about what you get done. Being in service to another is also about how your view of the world is affected by the position you put yourself into.
The clearest example I can think of this is how we encourage our youth who are 8th graders and older to attend a weeklong experience where we travel to an unfamiliar part of the country. Through these experiences, we hope to expose youth to a different culture. When you are a Minnesotan and you travel to Tennessee, and you discover that you are the one with the funny accent (I cannot count the times I’ve been asked to say Minn -es- soooooota in Tennessee), you can’t help but feel odd and thus see the world differently.
Being out of step with the surrounding culture is a good experience in itself, and when you add on the layer of being a servant of people who are of a different economic class, the experience can be a formative spiritual experience. When your eyes are opened to how different you are in one context, you have the opportunity to see how our differences often unfairly divide us. Somehow when you are the one being called out because of your accent, you are more open to stand with someone who is being called out because they are poor.
Jesus in his life and at his death teaches us that being a servant is not just doing, it is developing the courage to put yourself in a position to see the suffering of the world, the suffering around you and then to enter it…to do something about it… to redeem it.
This week in our worship I’m asking you to read the scripture in John Chapter 13 of Jesus modeling how to be a servant by washing the disciples’ feet. Here Jesus not only does something for others; he literally puts himself on his knees in front of another which is metaphorically a position of attentiveness and compassion.
As you consider how you practice service, choose a time, event or a person where you have attempted to serve as Jesus modeled. Now ask yourself the question, what did that person teach me? How do I view the world differently because of that experience? Come to church having reflected upon that, and let’s allow God’s light to shine deeper into our lives revealing the presence of Jesus in our world.
Keep the Faith,