James and John are looking for the best seat in the house. They want to sit next to Jesus, in his glory, one on his right and one on his left. That seat, however, is only for those for whom it has been prepared.
James and John sound a bit arrogant and self-seeking; interested in privilege, honor, and status. That’s often how this text is interpreted. There is certainly no lack of that kind of behavior in our world. We’ve all seen it in others and, if we are honest, in ourselves as well. Maybe the usual interpretation and judgment are more a statement about our own motives than that of James and John. Maybe that’s why the other ten are so upset. Maybe, however, there is more to this story than the usual interpretation. Maybe there is another way to understand what is going on not only in the text but with us.
When I was a kid my sister and I often argued about who got to sit next to our grandmother. In elementary school I wanted to sit next to my best friend. In high school algebra I wanted to sit next to Jennifer, a really cute blonde. I remember the joy and gratitude of sitting next to my first spiritual mentor. After I met Cyndy, my wife, I wanted to sit as close to her as possible. I still do.
We all have those people in our lives that attract and draw us to them. Their lives speak to us of love and friendship. They show us something about ourselves. Their presence changes who we are. They call from us the best part of who we are. In them we catch a glimpse of something holy, Continue reading “The Seat of Arrogance or the Heart’s Desire?”