This last week in the United States has been marked by the Republican National Convention, where the candidate representing the Republican Party at our Presidential election in November is announced and officially begins campaigning for the Presidency. Next week the Democratic Party gets their turn, wrapping up the conventions for the two major political parties.
Two main themes tossed around this week have been “Making America great again,” and “New leadership for a new course.” As the US prepares for a shift in leadership this year, I am reflecting on what this means, and what this might look like.
I find it amazing how God becomes so relevant in the middle of my normal Bible reading schedule. This morning I was reading from Luke 22:24-30
It’s the Passover, the most important holiday for the Jewish people. Picture all the preparations that were required for that meal. A location was necessary, the lamb had to be purchased, and killed. Wine and bread had to be prepared, the right cups laid out, special candles set in place, and the list goes on. So Jesus sends Peter and John ahead of the rest of the group with the instructions to get all of this ready. In my mind I started to picture Christmas Eve in the States. Stores are incredibly busy, with everyone rushing out for the last minute items on their list. There is a high amount of stress because everyone wants their celebration to be perfect. I imagine when the disciples finally eat the meal together, Peter and John are pretty tired and maybe even a little stressed out. Maybe they even start to grumble under their breath about all the time and effort they have put into the meal, while no one has even thanked them for their hard work. Can you picture all the normal, fun, stressful, dysfunctional dynamics that go with family groups?
You can picture Jesus sensing all that is going on. So he does a teaching on how he is the real Passover Lamb, which, sorry to say, has no influence on them at that moment. Then Jesus drops this bombshell. “One of you is going to betray me.” I think that must have shaken them all awake, as evidenced by how everyone starts pointing their fingers at each other.
Imagine seeing them looking around and accusing each other.
“Is it you?“
And then the defensive arguments begin.
“It sure isn’t me, look at all that I have done!”
Their backs are against the wall and they had to defend themselves, and the one of the best ways to defend ourselves is by listing our achievements. “It sure isn’t me, I have done this and that.” Which rolls into “So what have you done? Come on, list it off.” You can sense the stress and competing and justifying in the atmosphere.
I love how Jesus jumps in. He begins with their lists. Then you can almost see Him shouting “But not here! My standard is a totally different way to measure. This is how I want you to look at it.” And so begins his teaching on “leadership for a new course.”
As I sat this morning reflecting I asked myself these questions:
How am I leading?
What am I modeling?
Am I trying to win, and in the process others lose?
Am I leading from tiredness, stress and hurt?
And then: What would leadership for a new course look like in my world? What do I have to do differently?
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