“…where the least are the greatest”

A postcard from the 21st Sunday after Pentecost 10/17/21

St. Simon Peter in Pell City, AL, on a beautiful fall morning.

“Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

Jesus knows that James and John don’t fully understand what they are asking for, but he does not rebuke them. [Mark 10:35-45] Instead he tries to redirect them to what they should be striving to exceed in, which is service to all. This is the final teaching scene in this chapter of Mark, and it builds on the previous teachings of what it means to be a disciple. All of that comes together in Jesus’ statement “whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., preached on this text at Ebeneezer Baptist church on February 4, 1968 (2 months before his assassination). This sermon was titled the “Drum Major Instinct.” This sermon is perhaps most remembered because King concludes the sermon by imagining how he would want to be remembered in the eulogy at his funeral. He did not want people to talk about the Nobel Peace Prize or his other awards. Instead, he hoped for this:

I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others.

I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question.

I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry.

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked.

I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison.

I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.

https://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2018/02/martin-luther-king-jrs-the-drum-major-instinct-sermon-turns-50.html

A sermon from St. Simon Peter in Pell City:

Audio only available here


Coming next

We will finish our exploration of the 10th chapter of Mark and its teachings about the nature of true discipleship in God’s Upside-Down Kingdom.

  • Oct. 24 – St. Paul’s, Greensboro / “…where the blind can see”
  • Oct. 31 – Messiah, Heflin / The Greatest Commandment

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