The Cup and the Font – Reflection for 21 October 2018
Thunder and lightning, James and John, are at it again! Jesus has to groan to himself with these two brothers. “Grant us a favor Let us sit on your left and your right when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus listens to them and then reminds them they are acting just like the Romans that they so very much dislike.
Before Jesus lets them down he asks two questions that are timeless in nature and intent; Can you drink of the cup that I drink and can you be baptized in my baptism? It is interesting that these questions are two of the most defining questions for Christians today. Understand that these questions have nothing to do with power or recognition or score keeping. It has to do with the reflected love that God shows to creation through Christ Jesus.
Jesus goes on insisting that the road to greatness is found in servanthood. To drink the cup that Jesus drinks puts us in a sacrificial covenant posture. God’s covenants are blood covenants establishing the bonds between the giver and the receiver of the covenant. The blood of Jesus is the final blood covenant for the world. To drink from the same cup is to understand what it means to live life in service. To be baptized with the baptism of Christ is to conquer self, giving up self centeredness for other centeredness. When I put the clergy sign on the car door for hospital or house visits, I am declaring my attitude and lifestyle for all to see. Not for the purpose of eliciting praise, which I don’t feel worthy, but so that others who have needs and questions can find a safe venue to speak with me. I have many times received nasty notes attached to my windshield or door about ignorant views of Christianity. These are nothing compared to what Christ did for us. To be baptized in Christ’s baptism is to be in Christ’s glory in the Resurrection.
Now the question comes, innocently mostly, but sometimes with intention, of sitting on the right or left of Christ, what kind of acts do I have to do to be in the resurrections of Christ. I don’t know. What I do know is found in Micah 6:8 and just for good measure Jesus makes clear the Two Great Commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your spirit, all that you are and the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself.”
There it is, the cup of Christ and the baptism of Christ. Can you drink of the cup of Christ and will you be baptized in the baptism of Christ?