Palm Sunday

This week I have been the Sea Cadet Chaplain for the SCC’s Virtual Chaplaincy on Face-
book. This involves posting something on Facebook each day beginning with Monday which

generally begins with Unit Prayers. Often a padre has a theme for the week. This time I
based my postings on ‘servant leadership’ which has
had varying phases of ‘vogueness’ over the decades.
I think the idea of servant leadership comes and goes
because it often gets viewed, I think, as yet another
management ‘tool’ to manipulate others. We all know
the complexities of living together in groups – any
groups – and that leaders are needed and there are
both the formal leaders who exist through structures –
and dynasty or privilege can build around them – and
there are ‘real’ leaders who are followed by others –
or at least glanced at or listened to before committing
to something themselves. Leadership simply can be

defined ‘as getting people to do something’ and it can be sought after because of the trap-
pings of power, position, and whatever can be accumulated. The goal seems to be ‘getting

the job done’ and how one manages the people a secondary, thought not unimportant, issue.

I have said that that ‘leadership’ should be reconfigured as ‘followership’ – ‘Why should any-
one comply with or follow you as leader?’ type of thing – especially when the followers do not

have choice about who has authority over them. For young people and cadets I often hear
this topic discussed in terms of respect. Who respects whom and why? We could discuss
these issues – and more – for a long time. Leadership is certainly topical in this pandemic
time in a social media globally connected world.

And today I am drawn to the unusual – that someone with power and authority can have hu-
mility and genuinely seek to use that power and authority to serve. Zechariah talks about a

humble king, righteous and having salvation, riding a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). Jesus on Palm
Sunday patently fulfils that message and if there is no light of an empty tomb to see by, he
rides into history as a bit of deluded fool. However by that resurrection light a deep mystery is
revealed – and which will be ‘shouting’ at us on Friday – that the all-powerful, almighty God

serves us all (salvation) in a process that not only makes him look weak, scorned, and horri-
ble but actually ends his life. Jesus doesn’t ask our permission to rescue us. He does so be-
cause we need it – and when the realisation of our predicament and his actions come home

to us, then Jesus becomes our leader – we tend to use the word ‘Lord’ – as we want to follow

him. That he is leader / Lord of all isn’t actually the point – though he is – but what is im-
portant is that each person on this planet comes to see that whatever their view of deities and

whatever their view of themselves, the story of this ‘servant King’ and what he has done
simply makes the best sense of how to explain ourselves – who we are – and what life could
be – which could be so much better than what it is now.
‘Servant leadership’ is more than a slogan or a management style. Whenever people truly
meet it, they want to follow. And in Jesus, each person meets someone worth following – the
God who actually serves us … still today!