Advent devotion – December 9, 2009

Scripture: Matthew 23:1–12

“The greatest among you will be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)

According to the world around us, this is the season for shopping, spending, decorating, feasting, and wearing elaborately decorated sweaters. Parties and pageants, tinsel and trees, Santa and snow, family and friends—this is the most wonderful time of the year. Yet the Advent scriptures we read tell us that the world around us and the world of Jesus are not one and the same.

In our world we are taught that titles matter. Our résumés are carefully crafted to make us look as good as possible. High school students work hard to have the right leadership roles to include in their college applications. We even affix titles before the names of those whose position or accomplishments earn them respect: Dr., General, the Honorable, and the Reverend. Power and privilege often accompany position.
Jesus offers an alternative view of reality. Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for their love of position and power. It is not their role he denounces; it is their taking advantage of the perks that he seems to condemn. The words “The greatest among you will be your servant” define how power operates in the way of Christ.

Today, and during this season of Advent, we have the chance to consider the ways we use our positions and power and to find ways to live as servants.

God of love, you came into the world as a child with so little fanfare. Help us learn how to be servants and use the positions and power we have to bring your peace to our world. In Christ. Amen.

The Rev. Jeff Peterson-Davis, co-pastor,
Pioneer Memorial Presbyterian Church, Solon, Ohio

Order Proclaiming the Good News of God's Peace.

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