S (Scripture): Mark 10:35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39 They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
O (Observation): Jesus has remarked three times now, that he is heading to his death. You would think that the disciples would be focused on what they can do to help or to carry on the ministry. Nope.
James and John want to know who gets the power on the throne.
Jesus reminds them: It’s not about you!
A (Application): Ugh! I can’t say I wouldn’t be without fault, if I was in James and John’s shoes. They wanted to know that Jesus had a place for them…but it still is selfish.
Which helps to understand the meaning of religion a little bit better. If religion doesn’t shake you from your place of selfishness, then it is not a complete religion.
The Jews and the Gentiles called together by Jesus were being formed in a religion that was selfless in nature.
Richard Rohr, a theologian who writes a great deal in regards to the meaning of religion and the use of contemplation, points out that religion has 2 main purposes: to help one find one’s “self,” and then to help us move beyond the “self.”
Most of us get the first part: I am a child of God. It’s the second part that gives us trouble. The second part gave James and John some trouble. The second part gives me trouble.
With the celebration of Pentecost coming up on Sunday, May 15, may we realize the usefulness of our religion: to establish our identity (“self”) and then to allow God’s Spirit to move us beyond our self, into serving and living for the others around us.
Has your religion helped you to find your self and then to move beyond it?
P (Prayer): Lord, I am your child. You have adopted me. Help me to know that my self is not about me, but about loving and serving others, bearing witness to your love for me and for all of creation. That can be really hard for me sometimes. Amen.