Do for Us Whatever We Ask

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." And he said to them, "What is it you want me to do for you?" And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They replied, "We are able." Then Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 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 slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."   Mark 10:35-45

Give us flimsy blue ribbons for first and second place
and a shiny plastic trophy for the dresser top
affirming our fragile, boyish, hurting egos

Make us more special than everyone else’s specialness
put a sash around us and notice that adorable hair curl looping down
so you can truss up our needy, hungry girlish souls

Grant us every wish from Maseratis to mansions
and manufactured beauty to immaculate perfection
so all will be well and no grey spills through the cracks

Then watch us fall into predictable chemical dependency
as we crawl through the numb dumbness
of our lives made false and empty without scar or scuffle

Cry for us as we grieve the years gone by
and every chance we had to sacrifice our golden selves
was stopped by our boundless need to step on and over and win

Comfort us when we slip and somersault on the icy road
toward preciousness and piety and strawberry preserve sweetness
that keep us from ever feeling warm fleshly earthy life

as you did, as you loved with abandon every one and every thing
as you counted the cost of being vulnerably human and then
spent it all in every daily cross of getting yourself out of the way

and letting each Spirit-filled encounter with life’s dirt and dander
urge and move you to crazy ways of embracing the pained
with the same holy hug that held you tight even through death

Good Lord, whatever you do, don’t give us what we want,
give us what we need.  Give us your last place loser crown
your humility of embodied love, your humble, open, crucified arms

Give to us aging boys and girls hearts and minds and souls
of men and women who know their lives have meaning
when we give them away losing as beautifully as you


  1. Just stumbled across this through "The Text This Week" website. Beautiful, thank you!


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