I must have read this Gospel passage from Mark 10 numerous times in my life but only today did a line jump out at me that I did not recognize. Odd how that happens with the Gospel. Mark 10:32 says that the disciples were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. Two polarized views hold the same space. How often does this happen? People are at the same event and yet walk away with different understandings about what transpired.
This Gospel also has the sons of Zebedee, James and John, ask of Jesus the privilege of sitting at his side in glory. Jesus must have smiled inwardly at their boldness and their lack of understanding. They had been listening to him the whole time and yet had a completely different perspective about what was going to unfold. Do we really know that we can drink of the cup that is before us?
Christ goes on to say that he came not to be served but to serve. One of the struggle points for me in my illness has been saying yes to those who wish to serve me. I would much rather serve than be served. I have been amazed at how many people want to reach out to me. I also have seen those who are afraid for me. It has not been easy for loved ones to know that I could be so seriously ill. I have appreciated the courage some have shown in standing with me; I also acknowledge that fear paralyzes some people and they have not been able to be here for me.
Today I had a lovely little encounter with my neighbour. I have not always had good interactions with the household. Until one got married and had a child, the bachelors who lived there stuck pretty much to themselves and really never initiated conversation with me. Something seemed to shift a bit after his marriage and my neighbour seemed more open to my conversations. As I sat on my steps today, he and his daughter came by. His wife had told him that I had been going into the hospital but they knew no details. This morning he asked how I was and was very compassionate. I was taken by surprise at this generosity of time and emotion. We do not always see what is coming and who is capable of drinking the cup with us. We do not always know in advance who can serve us with a pure heart.
When was the last time that you sat down with someone and drank from his or her cup? Have you read a situation incorrectly and asked for something that was not what you wanted? Do you serve or want to be served?