Mark 9:30-37

Sometimes I wonder if the Bible’s made out of glass.  Some people treat it as if it were the most fragile thing in the world, barely touching it or engaging with it, for fear it will shatter.  Others, it seems, break it into sharp fragments that cut and tear.  Sometimes it seems like a window, clearer now, more obscure then, into a different time and place.  It can also act like a mirror – showing us shades and sides of ourselves that perhaps we’d rather not see.  As much as I enjoy making fun of Jesus’ disciples (especially in Mark), I can’t help but wonder if today’s passage isn’t showing us a picture of ourselves.  Jesus has just laid out for the disciples (for the second of three times!!) that his story would contain betrayal, death, and resurrection, and, because of their incomprehension and fear, the best thing they could figure out to talk about was which one of them was the greatest.  Jesus responds with a parable of sorts:  be a servant and welcome one such as a child.  There are lots of definitions of greatness in the world.  The richest, loudest, most powerful, most violent, most beautiful, most adored – each of these has been called great.  We are called to something completely different.  We are called to serve all, starting with those who have the least power, the least privilege, and have often been ignored.  Who are those people in our city, in our world?  You wanna be a great church?  Let’s get serious about serving people in need.  Let’s measure ourselves not by beauty, wealth, power, or noise.  Let’s truly follow Jesus on the path he has walked.  In case we were too busy worrying about greatness to understand, he’ll remind us again – and he’ll show us, too – that path is a path that leads through betrayal and death, to resurrection.