Undoubtedly, how we see life, is shaped (in so many instances) by the “perspective” we take…
the world we live in,
in understanding and making sense of life’s “happenings”.
And, I do wonder, if there is often a lot more to it than just being someone who sees their glass as in being “half full” or “half empty”?
(Or is the real truth in the question…”What’s in the glass in the first place?” 🙂 )
Here’s this week’s Sunday Gospel reading, which sees Christ refocus His disciples understanding of the perspective” they were beginning to take, of themselves. It’s a challenging read…
The Gospel reading
30-32 Leaving there, they went through Galilee. He didn’t want anyone to know their whereabouts, for he wanted to teach his disciples. He told them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed to some people who want nothing to do with God. They will murder him. Three days after his murder, he will rise, alive.” They didn’t know what he was talking about, but were afraid to ask him about it.
So You Want First Place?
33 They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, “What were you discussing on the road?”
34 The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.
35 He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.”
36-37 He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.”
It strikes me from this passage, that Christ; having been in ministry for nearly three years, is decidedly unhappy by the conversation that His followers on the road to Capernaum are debating.
He knows that something is afoot “What were you discussing on the road”? (Mark 9 v 33) and doesn’t take long to find a response to their embarrassed admission… “…they had been arguing with one another over who among them was the greatest”. (Mark 9 v 34).
The disciples, Christ’s closest companions who for nearly three years had….
walked with Him,
witnessed miracles through Him,
heard the Kingdom of God proclaimed by Him,
no doubt touched Him, laughed with Him, cried with Him…
and yet on the road to Capernaum they lose their “perspective” of the matters at hand,
and argue over who is the greatest.
Just for a second use your imagination…
Christ calls His closest followers together, they know something is brewing and cast furtive eyes at each other.
He sits down with them and clearly, without hesitation chastises them “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be servant of all.” (Mark 9 v 35.)
To make sure His message has got through Christ brings a child into the middle of the room.
The youngster is over awed. Wide eyed. Nervous possibly.
Christ takes the child in His arms and cradles “..the little one” (Mark 9 v 36) whilst praising the “spirit” of trust, love, wonder and appreciation the wee one shows in response to Christ’s love and tenderness.
Just as He hopes His followers might do.
And turns in one action, an action of love and compassion, all that the disciples had been arguing about. On it’s head.
For all of the disciples debating, arguing and no doubt posturing as to who was the greatest, a child’s perspective on what really matters in life, in who really matters in life turned their worldview upside down.
A child…with little or no “status”.
A child…with no “power” or “agency”.
A child…with no ego to feed.
A child…open and vulnerable.
A child who in their time (alongside women, foreigners, the diseased and many deemed “other”) discovered what it was to be put first for once and not last.
And a child, who knew from the warmth and embrace of Christ that she (or he) was fully accepted. Fully loved and fully safe in the arms of Christ.
Which for all of us, is no bad place to begin to have our perspectives on ourselves and the world we live in…renewed and re-energised.
“Seeing” and experiencing the Kingdom of God. Exactly because we have no power, yet are fully loved.