Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
From Pentecost to Advent, we are in the season of the Church, the green season; and for the last few weeks we have heard Jesus teaching. These teachings are easily applied to the life of the Church, the Bride of Christ. After proclaiming His impending torture, death and resurrection, Jesus is teaching His disciples and the Holy Spirit teaching us the Way of Life in this world. And that way is a life of service. As Jesus says, the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life for you, that you may live.
In this country we are opening up after a long lockdown, a time where, especially in Dubbo, we have been restricted from seeing each other, stuck at home and away from the community. Of course we have phones and the internet, and letters too, we can keep in touch; yet when it’s needed you can’t give that hug over the phone, we can’t just sit with each other. Although you long to serve, we haven’t been able to serve as we want. Now that is changing. With the lockdowns lifting you are able to go a see each other, to support each other, to have a working bee, a lunch, an afternoon together, to be the Church in community. As you’re able go out and serve the people God has given you.
This life of service is what we are called to as Christians. Our Small Catechism ends with our responsibilities in various callings, in family, work, and state. And Luther in ‘Freedom of a Christian’ which our elders and pastoral assistants are looking at, Luther wrote, both that “Christians have complete freedom and power over everything, and are under no obligation to anyone” and “Christians are servants of all, and are under complete obligation to everyone.” Just like Jesus. He is God Almighty, Lord over all, and yet as we heard from Isaiah (53:5, 7), He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our guilt, as a lamb before the slaughter He did not open His mouth. And by the wounds of this suffering servant you are healed. Your sin, failures, your guilt is taken up away from you by Him and dealt with at the cross. From His Throne above He descended to serve all Creation, to serve you, pouring out His life unto death. Yet as Isaiah (53:10, 11) continues, “after He has suffered, He will see the light of life and be satisfied;” His life lengthened, He will rise again and continue to serve. And still today, the Lord of all pours out His life in serving us here in His Divine Service. This is the life we are united to, the New Life we are given by God; Christ’s life of Almighty Lordship and Humble Service.
In this strange time of our lives, how can we be strong and fearless? How can we even be great? Jesus says you must serve. Serve your spouse, your children, parents, family, friends, colleagues, customers, parish members, the guy you see down the street. By loving service we build relationships, we bring life to others in pouring out your own, just as Jesus continues to. Live this New Life of Christ you have been given, free from the deathly shackles of sin into a life of service, to bring aid, help, and life to those around you. And that greatest help, the best aid, is Christ Jesus, everlasting life together in Him.
And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, now and into life everlasting. Amen.
Pastor Joseph Graham.