Thursday, April 09, 2009

Service or Selfish

There are many things assocated with Jesus' Last Supper. Jesus and his disciples meet in the Upper Room to celebrate the Passover. Jesus institutes the sacrament of Holy Communion through his words: "This is my body... This is my blood..." In John's Gospel Jesus chooses to wash his disciples' feet with the command: "you also ought to wash one another's feet (John 13:14)." But John's Gospel is not alone in lifting up this idea that followers of Jesus should not seek to be served but should serve. The day we commemorate the Last Supper is called Maundy Thursday because "maundy" means commandment.

Also occuring during the Last Supper, and is often forgotten is, that Jesus tells his disciples that one of them is going to betray him. It become clear, before the evening is over, that Judas will be the one to betray him. "The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him (John 13:2)."

I think we miss something when we forget this event from the Last Supper. Judas' actions and Jesus' actions makes quite a contrast. It is clear that followers of Jesus have two paths they can travel as they live a life of faith: service or selfishness.

Many have pondered what motivated Judas. Was he still upset about the money wasted by woman who annoited Jesus with costly perfume? Was he disapointed Jesus didn't seem to moving in the direction of becoming a military leader? Was it just greed? Maybe... hard to say. But whatever his motives: there can be no doubt that they based solely on the best interests of Judas. His decision to betray Jesus was based on his needs, desires, feelings and wellbeing. It was selfish. And selfishness is a dead end!

Followers of Jesus are called to follow a different path from selfishness. Instead of holding grudges they forgive. Instead of hating they love. Instead of moving up the chain of command they look to serve. Jesus is clearly revealed as the Son of God, the Great I Am, in John's Gospel. When he gets on his hands and knees at the Last Supper and takes the role of a servant by washing his disciples feet, Jesus' body, blood, mind, and spirit are modeling for the world that faith means service. Being selfLESS is the path we are called to take.

Selfishness is always a dead end. You cannot have enough money to ever be secure. You cannot step on enough people to ever have ultimate power. You cannot achive eternal life through your selfish actions. The eternal life road, which Jesus us points us toward and is paved by God's love for the world, is a road of service and love.

Go ahead and keep looking out for yourself. You won't get anywhere. But the moment you give yourself up to Christ and sincerly get on your hands and knees, not just to worship him, but to serve your brothers and sisters... My word... you will get a taste of eternal life right here and right now. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Take his body. Drink his blood. Serve his children.