Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Living in the Story - Lent #12, 2009

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'

"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matt. 23)

The last time I was in Thailand, we were taken by our host out to a Refugee camp for Burmese Karen people who had crossed the border fleeing the Burmese military who have been taking over their lands and destroying their villages. This sprawling camp seemed to go on into the hills forever. In this camp, there is a grass roots Christian school run by the people in the camp. Walking across the stream and up the hillside into the weaving system of paths to bamboo houses on stilts was the highlight of my trip. Hearing the children sings songs about Jesus for us brought tears to our eyes.

The Karen gentle lady that is the 'principal' of this little school (just a bamboo room on stilts in a refugee camp) had taken on a little physically and mentally handicapped boy to care for...he cannot walk or talk or do anything for himself. All she does is hold him all the time and pray for him and love him. When I hear the story of the widow's mite, I think of her. When I hear Jesus say, "the greatest among you must be your servant", I think of her. I don't know her name but Jesus does and he will lift her up.

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