Servant king

Year 7 have been looking at rights and responsibilities in religious studies. As part of this unit they have looked at the universal declaration of human rights, and they had to choose one of the human rights that is being violated on to do a case study on. In the group I teach the majority of groups chose ‘the right to freedom from slavery’ I have been reflecting on why this might be, and I think it is purely because they didn’t like the idea of having to do things for other people without anything in return. We like to be recognised for what we do, and yet one of our school values and the theme of the song we are looking at this week, is serving.

Service, is, the idea of doing something for someone without getting anything return, I guess the difference is choice. A slave is forced to do something, a servant is choosing to do it. Even a servant in a stately home, they may not have enjoyed what they were doing but they chose to do it in the first place.

Our hymn this week is servant king by Graham Kendrick. Straight away we can see two words that don’t appear to go together, servant king. Well, they do go together because usually a king is someone we would associate with having servants, but not to be one themselves.

This hymn talks about the choices God made when he came to earth to save us. He could have come with a fanfare of trumpets, cheerleaders and told everyone what to do, but instead as the first line says “from heaven you came helpless babe, entered our world your glory veiled”. Who would ever think that a helpless baby was ever going to be a King?

The entire song talks about the apparent contradiction of Jesus being King. In verse 3 it says “hands that flung stars into space, to cruel nails surrendered”. The God, who created the world, ended up dying on a cross. Giving his life that we might live.

How often do we put other people’s needs before ourselves? That’s what service is about, and we had the perfect example of that in the person of Jesus. The night before he died, he washed his disciples feet – and they will have been MESSY! When his disciples were asking to be sitting next to him in heaven he said

Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many

The kingdom of heaven has upside down values, well, they’re actually the right way, but are upside down in comparison to the world. In the world we are called to show importance and power, and yet in the kingdom of God we are called to serve others. Through serving, we are demonstrating the love that we have been given by God. That service may be holding a door open, or helping someone who is upset, or volunteering somewhere. It doesn’t matter, it’s all service.

So often the idea of God can be so huge and distant that we cannot even get our heads around it, but within Christianity we were shown God clearly. We worship a God who was a servant, who didn’t crave power, but who gave love. As our act of worship, we should do the same.

Challenge: how can you serve others this week?

Prayer: (from the final verse of the hymn). 

So let us learn how to serve, and in our lives enthrone him, each other’s needs to prefer, for it is Christ we’re serving. Amen

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