Another season of Masterchef has come and gone. Billie McKay, the girl from the country became the 2015 Masterchef. All of us who live in the country want to claim her as one of our own in the same way we pretend Crowded House or Russell Crowe are Australian every time they succeed. And maybe it’s not just me who’s a little sad to see the end of these virtual friends from our lives.
It was an interesting thing to be a Jesus follower and also a Masterchef follower for a while. Not because of the attitude of the contestants – actually it was encouraging and uplifting tv most of the time, albeit with a few too many “OMG’s” in there. The event which made it an interesting clash of worlds was this little thing called the “Power Apron”.
Midway into the competition, out came the mysterious and alluring Power Apron, which gave its owner power over the other contestants. With the power apron you got to choose key ingredients, choose your dream team for a challenge, even choose to save another contestant from an elimination round. The Power Apron ushered in a few days and weeks of mind games. What would different contestants do to others when this garment of power was given to them?
It is not too cynical of us to mistrust a thing like power. As someone who is seeking to love and follow Jesus I observe certain assumptions people seem to have about power. Power to many people is about leverage. It is about gaining an advantage over others, for one’s own good. Power is connected to greed far too often, and fear too often, and control nearly all the time. But for Jesus, power was not about leverage of self. It was all about serving others, leverage for them really. Power for Jesus is bound up in love and protection for others. He is the one who said “whoever wants to be first must be last, the servant of all” (Mark 10:44). Jesus is the one who washed his disciples’ feet – and yes it was an object lesson! He really wanted them to see what happens when real love carries real power.
So, sorry for being a little early 2000’s cliché here, but WWJD with the Power Apron? And more to the reality of our lives, how do we respond to power in our own lives? I have no doubt that in Christ I am a powerful person. But even more than that, I have no doubt that Jesus who endows me with power also is the imprint of how to carry power to leverage others. I continue to wrestle with that – and to seek to be powerful so that others may be freer, more alive and know the love of the true holder of the Power Apron.