New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

Today's Reflection

JAMES AND JOHN want [Jesus] to commit to doing whatever they want without engaging him in relationship. Jesus doesn’t bite; he makes no promises. Nevertheless, he asks them the same question he later asks Bartimaeus: “What do you want me to do for you?” James and John are looking for what they call “glory.” They’re looking for prestige, power, and reputation—quite a different definition from how Jesus sees glory. Two things seem to bother Jesus: (1) Jesus knows that feeding James’s and John’s desire for these things won’t actually help them at all. Jesus only gives good gifts, and this would be a bad one. (2) Jesus knows they’re barking up the wrong tree. If they want prestige, Jesus’ “glory” is hardly the place they’re going to find it. Later, in Mark 15:27, we see that the people on Jesus’ right and left are the two criminals crucified with him, proclaiming to us that Jesus is in his glory on the cross. This, presumably, is not what James and John are looking for. So Jesus replies with some clarifying questions about what James and John really want. He turns their attention from what they want to what’s worth wanting. How might Jesus do this for us as well?

—Matthew Croasmun
Let Me Ask You a Question: Conversations with Jesus (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today's Question

What do you want Jesus to do for you?  

Today's Scripture

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?”
—Mark 10:35-38 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Lord, help me know the difference between what you ask of me and what the world asks of me. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room or share it in the comment section.

Something More

As Christians, we hunger to know and live out God's purposes for our lives. But how do we know for certain that our choices are moving us in the right direction. Learn more about Which Way, Lord? –  a 6-session churchwide or small-group study that will help you understand God's desire for your life.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

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