By Jaime Nava –
This article is not about events leading up to the American Civil War. It’s not about our consumer society that owes its life to debt and those who own it. This article is about cops, priests, and the guy in the cable-company jumpsuit. It’s about the mother in the apron and the kid in the school uniform.
We are raised under someone’s power and authority. From early on, we are directed by parents and teachers. Even younger siblings rest under the whims of the bigger, stronger brother or sister. Each stage in life has different authorities that hover above our actions. There comes a point when the opportunity for power is open to us. Power is part and parcel to certain jobs. As an obvious example, the President of the United States (i.e. POTUS, which just sounds weird to me). A good example of hierarchical power is seen in our military. Power is created by God and filled by corruptible sinners.
The people we have running for POTUS (POTUS heads?) are desperate for this power. They promise to do this or that for others but they wouldn’t be running if they weren’t hungry for the position themselves. History is filled with unscrupulous leaders. Every position is subject to these people. A big brother who eats his sister’s ice cream, a police officer who looks the other way for some cash, a dictator who orders the slaughter of millions, they all have a common thread. They all abuse the God-given dominion of which they are stewards.
The Lord humbled Himself. This is backwards to how we experience potency. With power comes privilege that we want for ourselves. Jesus used His privilege to help others. His main humiliating work is plain to see. Find the naked guy bleeding out on the cross. Yup, that’s my God. Pretty pathetic, isn’t it? All that control only to have losers gamble for His clothes and white-washed douchebags make fun of Him while He dies. How many dying people in hospice beds have people spitting on them, laughing at them? We tend to respect the dying, but not there. Despite dying and suffering the wrath of God we deserve, He still rose from the dead. That is historic fact. When He rose, with all authority in heaven and earth given to Him, after His humiliation, He determined to send apostles to teach and baptize in order to reveal His power.
The work of Jesus reveals the true way to wield power. It changes everything. Positions of power are now greater duties to serve others, not ourselves. A president becomes the lowest slave under the burden of all the people he serves. A police officer becomes a servant to those in his city. In fact, every uniform we see begins to reveal a position of real, humble slavery to our neighbor. We become a kingdom of servants. When we move up in power, we move to serve underneath the people we are overseeing. This is vocation at its finest.
Motherhood is one of the greatest living examples of this. A mother, as Chesterton puts it, is a generalist. Unlike a husband, who is designed for a specific task in his place of service, she is a teacher of all things. She oversees the next generation of presidents, police, firefighters, soldiers, white and blue collar workers, and everyone in between. To send her out of the home, away from the rearing of children, does a disservice to our entire society. She relinquishes her position of universal industry to become a specifist. What was once a comprehensive stick becomes a fixed match or arrow, good for only one job. The mother who rears her children and helps her husband is the finest example of Christ’s humble service while holding the position of greatest influence in the world. The apron is a sign of godly power. Corruptible, power-hungry humans despise it.
As we each take up our uniforms, our positions of authority, we must be reminded of Jesus. We interact with the world by serving them, not ourselves. We reflect the humility of the sovereign God when we don our garb. The weight of holy slavery is woven into its fabric.