Hebrews 4: 16 is a great line: Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. How many times do we go to that throne of grace as broken but beloved sinners? How often do we receive mercy and amazing grace when we muster up our courage and go to the throne of God and ask for what we need? What a gift this is!
The disciples in Mark’s Gospel also go to Jesus with boldness–but the sons of Zebedee have beaten them to the punch. The have already boldly asked for the right–not the opportunity–to sit at the right and left hand of Jesus in your glory. Of course, they had no clue what they were asking for…just like us sometimes when we engage our boldness without thinking things through.
James and John made their friends angry with their request. It seemed so self-centred and an individual act rather than a collective decision. The intent too seemed suspect. The vision included power and might and not humility and service. When I observe Pope Francis, I witness servant-leadership at its best most of the time. There will be suffering when we do this as we see in the First Reading from Isaiah 53–we may be crushed with pain but out of the anguish a newness will arise.
I have learned to be somewhat bold in approaching the throne of grace as of late. I long to receive mercy and to be blessed by grace. The psalmist says it well in Psalm 33: Let you love be upon us, Lord, even as we hope in you. I do hope in the Lord, in his mercy and forgiveness. I am grateful that this is my God, the one who gives second chances. As I read the Gospel, I can see how the disciples were not perfect and it gives me permission to also not beat myself up for messing up. What a good God we have! Therefore I do place my hope in God, as Love comes upon me, especially when I do not deserve it.
How do you most often approach the throne of God in prayer?
Is your style of leadership that also of servanthood?
God on high,
I run to your throne of grace
and fall upon my knees
boldly asking for my desire.
You respond with mercy and forgiveness
and I am lifted higher than I knew
was possible, freed and loved.
Help me to serve you with all of my heart
and to return often to you to remain
a humble servant of your will, not mine.