December 17, 2005

A Great Reversal

Luke 1:46-56

"He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble." Luke 1:52


A member of our congregation told me she was experiencing a reversal of roles on Sunday. She said, "During the week, I'm the supervisor; clients come to me with their problems. But on Sunday I'm the client; I'm the one who comes for help." There's something exactly right in this reversal of roles. Before the face of God, in worship, not only does the supervisor become the client, but the professor becomes the student, the lawyer the accused, the reverend the sinner, the potter the clay, the doctor the patient, the ruler the subject, the parent the child. Before the face of God there's a radical reversal of our roles. And what's most important is that our role before the face of God is the truth about us. We have to admit that our roles in the world involve a lot of playacting. When people complain about "Sunday Christians" and call us hypocrites, their complaint is that this reversal of roles in worship is also playacting--that it doesn't shape how we act in the roles we play on weekdays. In other words, the religious rich don't really see their poverty, and preachers don't really know their sinfulness. We must learn to live the truth. The Lord is coming, and, just as Mary proclaimed it, he will scatter the proud, send the rich away empty, and fill the hungry with good things.

Dear God, may we come to our senses and recognize ourselves as debtors to your grace, made whole by your mercy. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Jack Roeda

Rev. Jack Roeda is the senior pastor at Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and an adjunct professor of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is married to Carol Sue Kok, and they have three children and two grandchildren. Pastor Roeda has served two previous churches: Exeter (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church and Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan.

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