“What do you want me to do for you?”
It’s election time in Canada and everyone wants something.
Most folks want tax cuts. Some folks want a better deal for struggling families. Others are longing for a fresh and proactive approach to the environment.
Some want the government to be tougher on crime and to build a strong military. And others would like to see a national housing policy (that would be nice, I admit) that would address homelessness in our country.
But when it comes right down to it, elections are about power. What the respective parties want is power. And if you get a chance to look at the inner dynamics of these parties you will see a lot of vying for power going on from within.
Jesus never ran for Prime Minister, but he was on a journey towards kingship. And he spent a lot of time trying to get his disciples to realize that this was not a typical political campaign precisely because his was a kingship that would turn all notions of political power on their heads.
But old, bad ideas do not die easily. I mean we know what a king is, right? And we know what a kingdom is, right? And we know that when Jesus is enthroned as a king there’s got to be places near him to help him rule. Like on his left and right.
So when the Zebedee boys come with their Mama to kneel before their king-to-be, Jesus asks them, “What do you want?”
And the response is pretty typical. Mama Zebedee replies, “I’d like my boys to be in the cabinet. I’d like them to sit on your right and your left, at the places of power and honour.”
Shit. The same old shit. You gotta think that Jesus’ heart sank with the request. Here they are again – with their Mama, no less! – playing the same old games. Still lusting after power. Still looking for prestige and position.
That’s what’s going on in this election. The same old game of power. The same old jockeying for position and prestige.
And while this is happening on the campaign trail, both on the hustings and in the backrooms, there are folks sitting on the sidewalks of our nation, just asking for some spare change. While the powerful struggle for more power, the powerless are struggling just to stay alive.
So when Jesus meets a couple of blind guys shouting their heads off to get his attention, a couple of guys sitting on the side of the road where they have been a symbol of poverty for years calling out for this Son of David king guy to show them a little mercy, Jesus replies, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Almost the same question as to the Zebedee clan, but not quite. With the Zebedee boys and their mom, the question was almost a resigned, “What do you want?” because he knew full well what they wanted. But for these lads on the side of the road the question is more direct, and more of a real question. “What do you want me to do for you?”
What do we want? Well, all we’ve ever asked for from our place of poverty has been for some spare change. But what do we really want? Well, what we really want is to have our eyes open. We want to see!
And Jesus heals them. He gives them what they really want because this is in fact what they really need.
What do the men and women and children on the sides of our roads really want? Just a little change to help them get through the night? Or real change that would transform their lives? Just a few welfare reforms to make their lives a little more bearable? Or justice? Real justice!
It is election time in Canada. What do we really want? A political resolution of our ineffective parliament? Or something much deeper and profoundly more radical?
“What do you want me to do for you?”
A good question.
Wine Before Breakfast
Tuesday @ 7.22am, Wycliffe Chapel
Brian Walsh preaching,
the band digging into a little more Dylan,
and Andrew Asbil breaking the bread.
PS For more election commentary, check out empireremixed.com where we’re running a series on “Jesus for Prime Minister”