One of the guidelines we set in writing daily devotions is that we would write on the New Testament reading for the day. Since we preach mostly from the Gospels on Sunday morning, we figured this would be a way for all of us to learn more about the rest of the New Testament. And because the daily readings are typically “serial” readings, with each day continuing where the previous day left off, it gives us an opportunity to work through entire books (we’ve been working through Corinthians recently, for instance), which is probably the best way to get an idea of what the various chapter and verses are really saying.
This week, however, is Holy Week, and today in particular is Maundy Thursday. The readings for the day, therefore, are not so much related to what goes before or after, but to the themes of this day. One of the themes of the day is service. As Christians, our fundamental identity as those who follow Jesus is that of a servant. We are those who are called to serve.
You don’t have to look very far in modern Christianity to see how deeply that has been forgotten. We seem to think following Jesus is about exercising power, not serving others. To make this mistake is to betray Jesus anew; to give him fresh cause to weep.
If I were to commend a reading to you today, it would be the reading from Lamentations. One cannot read very far in the Bible without coming to the conclusion that God has often had problems with his people just as his people have often had problems with him. To think that has changed would be manifestly arrogant.
For those who have ears to hear, I think the song of the Lament is still very much present in our church (whatever church that may be) today.