Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The games we play: The musical chair rhapsody

James and John to the amazement of the other disciples go for the permission to sit at the right hand and left hand of Jesus (Mark 10:35-45). What was till then a silent competition for the ‘seat’ becomes an open secret. Before the scene gets messy, Jesus intervenes and says that these things are not his to decide and he does not even know whether such a chair exists. The absence of a chair makes the others chide the brother duo for their eye on power. Jesus explains further and says that the one who wants to be master must serve and that the son of man has come to serve and not to be served.

The society we live in is full of open and veiled attempts made at getting the chair. Once the chair is occupied the occupant never lets go. Children at a young age are taught the intricacies of power (chair) grabbing. As the music is played they are supposed to be interested in only one thing…the chair. In the quest for the chair, those on the right and the left are pushed away, to land spot on into the chair that matters. The symbolism looks like Jesus pushing away James and John to land in the chair. But this is far from what actually happened.

Everyone is after the chair. It could be the Prime Minister’s chair, the Chief Minister’s chair and even the bishop’s chair. The fight for the chair dominated all others even during the assembly elections in Kerala. Achuthanandan on the one hand refusing to give up his chair and Oommen Chandy on the other hand trying everything to gain the chair. It is interesting that Achuthanandan found opposition from within and Oommen Chandy found that he cannot leave his chair unattended even for a few minutes.

Sitting on the chair will make one very comfortable with the chair and it is interesting that Jesus never sat in a chair in that sense. His death is also in a standing position and serving others is a clear message that comes out of it. It is difficult to serve others while we are seated in the comfort of our powerful chairs. Maybe it is time to re-invent the musical chair game and draw new lessons from it.


Anonymous said...

Rohan Gideon, facebook, 22-11-2011- It's interesting to note that tables and seats that Jesus overturned in the temple were not simple furniture but "kathedras" (Mk.11:15).

Fr. Jerry Kurian said...

Very interesting point Rohan.

Anonymous said...

Rohan Gideon, facebook, 22-11-2011- It's not just interesting, it could land you in trouble if you say it from the pulpit! It happened to me twice!

Fr. Jerry Kurian said...

I guess the true sermon is the one which should land you in trouble. :)