“Who… did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited” (Phil 2:5-11).
“The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve” (Mt 20:20-28).
Jeremiah denounces the bad leadership of the kings of Israel who divided and scattered the people. In contrast, the Lord promises a shepherd-king who will “execute justice and righteousness in the land” and gather together the members of his flock.
Our world craves good leadership and is constantly seeking someone who will fulfill this desire. Only in Christ have we seen the example of a king or leader after God’s heart. As we are called to follow him, we are also called to emulate his way of servant-kingship in the world and in the church. In Christ we encounter one who does not tear down and divide but builds up and makes whole for the glory of God’s name. He is one who comes to serve, rather than be served, and his followers are called to do the same.
Today, the Middle East is experiencing the loss of its people to exile as “righteousness and justice” are becoming scarce commodities not only there but throughout the world.
Leaders, both in the world and in the church, have the responsibility to bring together rather than to scatter or divide the people of God. The more faithfully Christians emulate the servant leadership of Christ, the more division in both the world and the church will be overcome.
God, our only refuge and strength, help us to seek our Lord Jesus Christ not in the palaces of the powerful but in the humble manger and to emulate him in his meekness. Encourage us to empty ourselves as we serve each other in obedience to you. We pray in the name of Christ who with you and with the Holy Spirit reigns forever in glory. Amen.
Drawn from the resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on the website of the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute.