The Greatest

Pentecost Proper 24

From “Sitting on the Rainbow”

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud

Scripture Reference: Mark 10:42-45

Preparation (optional): Bring in a low stool that you can cover with a rich-looking robe or piece of fabric. You may even bring a crown for the servant royalty.

This morning I’d like to set up a royal kingdom here. I’ll need a king, queen, princes, princesses, dukes, and duchesses. And I’ll need a servant to wait on all the royal people. Are there any volunteers to be in our royal court?

(Choose volunteers for the royal titles. Using the child’s own name, announce their roles: King Alec, Queen Laura, Princess Elsa, etc. Have the children stand in a line at the front of the church with the king and queen at one end. Announce each member of the royal court with appropriate pomposity.)

We have a very fine court here this morning. We have a king, a queen, princes, princesses, dukes, and duchesses. Do you know what we’re missing? We need a servant to wait on all of these important people. Will someone volunteer to be the lowly servant? (Wait for a volunteer or, if necessary, choose a likely candidate from the “royals” to stand at the end of the line.)

Can someone tell me, in the eyes of God, who of all these people is the greatest? Is the king the greatest? Is one of the dukes the greatest? (Wait for answers.) In the eyes of the Lord, the servant is greatest of all. I’d like for our servant to come up here to the top step to stand above everyone. (Have the servant come to the top step at the front of the church or provide a stool draped with a rich-looking cloth for the servant to step onto.) In God’s kingdom, the lowliest servant is the greatest.

Could the entire royal court, including any lowly servants, come and sit down again? I have something I’d like to read to you. These verses are from the book of Mark, chapter 10. Two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, wanted to be very important people in heaven. They wanted to sit right next to Jesus by his heavenly throne. The other disciples grew angry with them. Why should James and John have the best seats? So Jesus had to explain something to them.

“Whoever wants to be great must be a lowly servant,” Jesus explained, “and whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all. For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a payment for many” (vv. 43-45 author’s paraphrase).

Jesus is the Almighty King, but he didn’t come to earth to demand that people serve him. Jesus came to be a servant to all and to give up his life, so that we might have eternal life.

I hope that all of you will become great in God’s kingdom by serving others with all of your heart!

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, thank you for leaving your throne in heaven to come here to earth

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