August 7, 2010

The Domestic Face of Christ Crucified

This Sunday's gospel has become one my favorites. The funeral ritual suggests the shorter form of it for the wake service, so I have preached on it often. I like to call it, 'the domestic face of Christ crucified:'

“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them." (Luke 12:35-37)

Here is the great reversal of Christianity. The master returns late from a wedding, presumably tired. But then it is not the servants who wait on him, but the master who invites the servants to recline at table while he waits on them. This is the God who reverses our human ideas of what lordship and dominion are supposed to mean, and places himself below us as Servant. To be empowered in Christ to do the same thing ourselves, to let go of all of our selfish and fleshly drives toward dominance, control, and commodification of each other, is the salvation offered to and accomplished for the world in Christ.


Greg said...

"God bends low so that God can meet us, exactly where we, finite, fragile, created human beings, creatures and all living things, are. God bends low because we are small, limited, frail, confused, bewildered, chaotic, and sometimes just plain infantile." — Ilia Delio, The Humility of God

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

That should make us feel both loved and humbled. I employ the concepts of servant leadership at work, training new managers in this and mentoring the ones who have been around a while because it is so counter to normal practice. I also have to prayer a lot during the day because even though I have introduced the concepts, they are often not intuitive for me, either. They are powerful, however, in building teams and creating cared-for, happy employees. God's examples to us work everything -- at home, in the street, and even in the office. Can you imagine what would happen if governments would use them with each other?