Sermon Introduction –
The Christian life is a specific way of seeing life through heaven’s eyes. Like the disciples in our lesson from Mark 9 today, we want to know “what’s in it for me?” Jesus and the epistle writer, James, want us to surprise the world with our welcome and our witness.
Introduction to our Readings –
Today we hear James warn against selfish ambition, while the disciples quarrel over which one of them is the greatest. Jesus tells them the way to be great is to serve. Then, to make it concrete, he puts in front of them a flesh-and-blood child. We are called to welcome the children God puts in front of us, to make room for them in daily interaction, and to give them a place of honor in the assembly.
Reading: James 3:13—4:3, 7-8a
The wisdom God gives unites our hearts and minds. Instead of living to satisfy our own wants and desires, we manifest this wisdom in peace, gentleness, mercy, and impartiality toward others.
Gospel Reading: Mark 9:30-37
Jesus’ teaching and action in this text are directed to the church whenever it is seduced by the world’s definition of greatness: prestige, power, influence, and money. The antidote to such a concern for greatness is servanthood.