I love the view from 37,000 ft in the sky. Always have. I love the patterns made from roads, farms, towns, and being able to see a bigger picture than when our feet are on solid ground. I seem to remember fighting with my sister on our few plane flights as a family growing up of who would get the window seat and I remember my own kids doing the same when we have traveled.
Looking down as our flight crossed from flying over Greece to flying over the Mediterranean, I saw beautiful light blue water near the shores and I saw beaches and what would be picturesque vistas. But my heart got heavy at that moment though. Heavy for those who may have seen those same beaches over the last few years and those who were still longing to see them. People who even now are trying to cross these very waters 37,000 feet below trying to get to safety. Was that beach the one where a young boy’s body washed ashore several years ago? Were those hills the first glimpses of dry land for people longing to get off the waters?
Looking down into the dark waters, I can see little bits of white here and there – could be just whitecaps from waves. Could be the wake from ships. Is it possible to see the wake from an outboard engine on a raft packed far beyond capacity of people desperately trying to find a place that is safe and a place of welcome.
As I boarded our flight this morning from London to Nairobi, I read from Mark 10:43 where Jesus shares words that push us down from lofts at 37,000 feet…
But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be servant of all.
A servant isn’t the one looking down from on high. The servant is the one in the kitchen, in the dining room, coming early, staying late, washing hands, dishes, and feet. The servant is the one who needs to find additional chairs when guests continue to arrive and somehow room for more is found. But an easy-to-skip part of that verse is the very beginning – Jesus noting that this way of living is different – radically so – from what comes more naturally to us. This is a new way of life and a new form of community. Rachel Held Evans shared of this of what the Kingdom of God can look like not just in the life to come but in the life now…
This is what the kingdom of God is like: a bunch of outcasts and oddballs gathered at a table, not because they are rich or worthy or good, but because they are hungry, because they said yes, and there’s always room for more.
In the Kingdom of God, there is never a light outside that says, “No vacancies” or “we’re full.” There is always room. Lord, stir in me that servant heart that isn’t up at 37,000 feet looking down and unable to see but instead is down on the shore, in the streets, in the water.