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Windows into the Light by Michael Sullivan

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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, March 11

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to Jesus, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.”
—Matthew 20: 20-22

I’ll never forget the day my son was baptized. It was a glorious autumn day with bright blue skies. As the sun warmed the massive stone edifice of all All Saints Chapel in Sewanee, Tennessee, the sound of trumpets heralding “For all the saints” rang through the air. We marched in procession singing the beloved hymn, and I felt tremendous gratitude for all that had brought us to this day.

Holding my three year old son tightly in my arms, I walked past stained glass, oak and marble feeling personally surrounded by all the saints. The thought of bringing my son into the Christian church gave me great joy. As we stood before our chairs, facing the altar, my eye caught that of a minister’s. I knew him well, and while the rest of the congregation continued to sing the hymn, we connected on the deepest of levels.

Then as both of us looked toward my son, I realized exactly what we were getting ready to do. My son, wearing a Victorian gown and entering the family of God, was not being asked to enter a tea party for the sake of Jesus. No, my son was being asked to follow Christ, and I, his father, was so bold as to believe that we could take that journey together.

The priest’s look into my soul resounded with the question Jesus asked the mother of the sons of Zebedee: “are you able?”  Are you able to be the servant of God despite all that happens? Are you able to be that person that God calls you to be even when others throw stones at you?

We all want following Jesus to be as easy as walking into a church on a beautiful autumn day. But that is not the baptism Jesus presents. The real baptism, the real question, is always, are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?  Are you able to be my disciple?  Or do you just want to sit in a place of honor?

You have claimed me and marked me as your own forever. Help me seek less a place of honor and more a place of servanthood as I seek to drink from the cup before me. Amen.