What does it mean to you to “Make America Great Again”?
Obviously, that’s a phrase that has been thrust into our collective consciousness by our recently elected President, and it clearly gives voice to a yearning that exists in the hearts of many in our nation. And while I think I understand the allure of “winning again” and “coming out on top” and “putting America first,” I also struggle with the feeling – that if I am to take seriously the words and example of Jesus – then something is missing from these ways of formulating our shared goals.
In today’s Daily Office from the Book of Common Prayer, we find the disciples of Jesus arguing about who among them was the greatest. And in response, Jesus takes them aside and lays out his description of what that means:
“Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
Now I’ll admit, it’s almost hard to imagine how a statement like that could be applied as a national policy directive in a world that’s as complex and potentially dangerous as ours is [although – for those who’d like to give it some extra thought – another passage from today’s Daily Office – Isaiah 58 – offers one potential example]. But if I believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (which I do), then I think I need to take Him at His word and trust that our highest achievements and our deepest moments of greatness come when we find a way to serve others – not just individually – but collectively.
Of course, thinking about a truth like this on a “national scale” shouldn’t distract us from applying it on a “personal scale.” How will I serve today…and how will you?
May God open doors for us today that allow us to serve others. And may we discover that “greatness awaits” for all those who are willing to deny themselves, and take up their cross, and follow Jesus.