“... whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
“But Mindy, that doesn’t make any sense!” That has been a pretty common response by the children during our recent Village Sunday School lessons where we’ve been studying the Gospel of Mark over the past several weeks. And my answer to that is always, “I know! It really doesn’t make sense, does it?” And that’s the thing about Jesus. He always surprised people by flipping things upside down. It didn’t make sense to us. In story after story in the Bible, we read about Jesus creating a world where the marginalized are seen and valued, where we are to welcome the stranger, and where the first shall become last.
Now, as the season of Advent approaches, we are reminded that in a world where the rich had power and the poor did not, God sent Jesus, the King. He was born as a poor, brown-skinned baby in the Middle East. He began his humble life on earth already flipping the system upside down.
Today, in 2018, we still live in a world in need of a God who flips things upside down, who places power in love and humility rather than in strength and riches. What does that look like? Perhaps it means listening to, learning from and giving value to the voices of our own children. Maybe it also means listening to, learning from and giving value to the voices of children who are seeking asylum with their families on the other side of the U.S. border. I think it also means choosing to see our transgender brothers, sisters and siblings who are scared and tired and listening to them with compassion. And what about the NFL players who are kneeling during the national anthem? Yes, let us take the time to listen to their truth behind why they are kneeling. Even if it feels uncomfortable… especially if it feels uncomfortable… let’s start by listening.
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, The One who flipped things upside down by giving value to the most vulnerable, let us open our eyes and ears and begin by listening to their voices.
Friends, what does flipping things upside down look like to you?