Two weeks ago I attended a United Methodist Volunteers In Mission training session at Dranesville United Methodist Church. The training was to become "qualified" to lead an UMVIM trip. Although I have had the training before, I decided to take it again. I feel strongly about church members (e.g., non-clergy) having the opportunity to lead mission trips. I want to encourage as many people as I can to step out in mission and in order for that to happen, the church leaders have to be comfortable that there are people to lead them. So, because I want others to take the training, and because I hope to lead another trip myself at some point and want it to be a success story, I thought I would take the training again.
But, I digress.
In addition to the person leading the training, the church's lead pastor - who has himself participated in something like 140 mission trips - was there all day. To start the day, he took us into their chapel, spoke a little, gave us some quiet time for reflection and prayer, and then led us in prayer. It was a good way to start the day. But, what really moved me, and inspired this post, is that he pointed out a sign that typically hangs over the only exit from the chapel. Everyone must walk through that door and under that sign, which reads "Servants' Entrance"
What a great reminder that when we leave that church and go out into the world, we are called to be servants. As Jesus said "[W]hoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV) Jesus himself, the King of the Jews, came to earth - to live and die as a human - not to rule, but to serve. Even as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the adoring crowds greeting their long-awaited king, He was not coming as a ruler. As we all know, he was coming to serve all of us.
While I do not know it to be true, I strongly suspect that a lot of people spend more time in this week between Palm Sunday and Easter thinking about Jesus and their faith than they do at any other time of the year. Of course, Christmas is great, but this week is what it is all really about and what can really make you think. So, while I know that I would benefit from the weekly reminder that the folks at Dranesville UMC get, particularly this week, while so many others are thinking about it, and when the message is so clear, join me in trying to remember that we are called to be servants.