Thursday, 18 October 2012

are we cultivating greatness of self or greatness of heart?

reading the Sacred Story for today, I read about Jesus and his disciples, two of whom asked Jesus to secure for them the seats in heaven either side of him.
as Jesus takes this moment for teaching, we learn an essential quality of a follower of Jesus: the servant heart.
I am going to worship with folk at Kalyra - a retirement village and nursing home in Belair - this sunday. I think my reflection may go something like this:

who have been the great ones held up by the world in our lifetimes? we might name sports stars, movie stars, political leaders ...

what have those people done with that greatness?

let's take, for example, the movie star. there are some movie stars who are lauded as great - and they have talent and help make movies that touch us and move us. but on set, and in their living, they believe the hype and see themselves as the greatest, greater than others. and so they behave badly, making unreasonable demands on assistants, cast members and crew on set, creating an oppressive environment around them. also off set, say in restaurants, they demand the best table, to be served ahead of others in a queue, treat staff as though their only purpose is to fulfil the whims of this great actor.
their 'greatness' is tarnished when we hear of such behaviour, isn't it?

there are others who are held up by society as great - Aung Sun Suu Kyi for example - a leader in her country, respected and praised by many around the world. with powerful friends and resources, she could have saved herself from the indignity and hardship of imprisonment for all those years. but she did not see herself as greater than her people. this woman understood her role in her country as one of servant hood, and made considerable personal sacrifices because she was not prepared to sacrifice the cause - the freedom of her people.

last week's story invited us at Belair to consider how our relationship with God transforms us deep within, but that transformation is incomplete without the transformation of our outer lives. when we follow Jesus, when we live God's Way, we see that we are not the greatest. we see our interconnectedness with others, with all creation, and we cultivate not a greatness of self, but a greatness of heart.

we don't need to storm parliament house or get on the boats to save whales: we do need, if our relationship with God is to be sincere and fulfilled, to see each other, and to love.

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