Power structures are a funny thing. We are born into them and taught to see them as normal and necessary. Which in many ways they can be. But in the book of Mark, Jesus reminds us that our place is not to climb to the top but to sit at the bottom and serve everyone else.
Jesus’s instructions are a strange thing to hear in our culture but it reminds me of a book called The Bees by Laline Paull. In it we are introduced to Flora 717, a ‘sanitation bee’. She is born the lowest of her hive and by rights shouldn’t be able to speak. She is special but this doesn’t stop her having to work hard and serve others as she makes her way through the complicated avenues of hive politics. It is though this grounding in serving that she is eventually able to unlock secrets about those in power and about her self which it seems might be the key to creating the fair and just hive that people think they are working towards.
I admit we are not bees, and neither are we living in the politics and power structures of Jesus’ time, but like all good stories whether true or imaginary, these books help us to see how we can change our outlook and our position to become real forces for good and change in the world.
God of the servant
Remind us to stop when we seek power for ourselves.
Teach us how the world really works.
Please help us to find the place in which we can fulfil your creative vision for love and peace.
42 So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.