Originally scheduled for May 26
One of the things you can count on in human
behavior is the desire to be first. It’s not just a case of wanting
to be first in line; we have all sorts of competition.
When you hear the word competition,
you usually think of athletics. Each of us has encountered at one
time or another the athlete who is eager to let you know just how
much better he is than you are.
This applies in other areas as well
my: have you ever run into the smartest kid in the room who isn’t
going to let you forget it?
A bit more subtle, perhaps, is the
woman who knows she can have any man in the room with just a smile.
And that includes your man, too.
But there’s one thing all these people have in
common: they have to have a criterion for being first. It rarely
helps to be the smartest athlete in the room. So you need some way
of measuring whether or not you are first.
For the Christian, the criterion is very
simple: if you want to be the greatest of all, you must be the
servant of all. When Christ was asked this question, he picked up a
baby and showed it to the disciples as an example of greatness in
the kingdom. Greatness in the kingdom of God requires humility and
service. Note, please, that this says nothing about the particular
position you have. Humility and service become the janitor as well
as the pastor.
It soon becomes apparent that being the servant
of all is going to involve sacrifice. This can come in many ways; it
might mean that you sacrifice and things that you put up with. One
wonders if pastors must take a special course in how to deal with
obnoxious parishioners. If you have someone who comes up after every
sermon to point out every tiny, nitpicking little mistake you’ll see
that the good pastor smiles and nods. He thanks his critic for
enlightening him. It’s a sacrifice. It may be a sacrifice of time —
particularly time that you had set aside for something else. For
some of us it’s a sacrifice in money. For many of us it’s a
sacrifice in work, hard work.
It should therefore be apparent that Christ is
first in all things for the church. He is our example in this; for
he is the servant to all of the church. By his grace and power the
church is sustained; when the church evangelizes, the story told is
always the same: the cross. You can see therefore the Christ not
only is servant of all but sacrifice for all. He is therefore the
greatest of all.
In Communion we honor that service in that
sacrifice. The cup symbolizes the blood, the bread his body
sacrifice on the cross to atone for our sins. As you partake you
proclaim Christ first in all things — and that includes first in
your life. Remember this as you partake. Honor him in a worthy
manner – take this completely seriously. May your actions be those
of a man of truth.