Brother sister let me serve you.
We enjoy a reasonably varied repertoire of hymnody at St Cuthbert’s. Thankfully most weeks the numbers on the news sheet tally with the hymns we plan to sing! I think that one of the most popular hymns we sing is number 88, ’Brother sister let me serve you’. This hymn, written by Richard Gillard, speaks powerfully about the nature of Christian servant hood, pastoral care, loving support and the ultimate hope of heaven, where as Richard Gillard put it, ‘we shall find such harmony, born of all we’ve known together of Christ’s love and agony’.
I think there is a real sense of care for individuals within the life of our Church family. Alongside our Pastoral Care ministry there is a very evident informal ministry of care exercised by many individuals. For me, the phrase, ‘let me serve you’, brings to mind the example of Jesus in washing his disciples feet. (John 13: 1-17)
‘When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you under stand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things you are blessed if you do them’.
Here we see the distinctive themes of humility and service that reveal true servant hood. Christians are called to emulate these qualities. It is a case of, do as I do, rather than, do as I say. Servant hood and humility are difficult and demanding qualities to foster. This is something we can only begin to work towards by God’s grace. A final word from Thomas A Kempis (The imitation of Christ)
‘Do not regard yourself as better than offers, or God may deem you worse, who knows what is in man. Be not inflated by your own good works; God judges otherwise than man, and where man approves he is often offended. If you have anything good, believe that others have better, and preserve humility. No harm if you put yourself lowest of all; put but a single one below you, and the damage is immense’.
In the service and humility the source of God’s blessing is found.
Every Blessing Rev’d Mike Proctor