Tags

Today is the last Sunday before Advent, the last Sunday of the churches year, and the church dedicates this Sunday to Christ the King.  In some ways, it’s a theme that goes alongside Ascension Day, when we celebrate Christ’s ascension to heaven to be king of all the earth.  But on this Sunday, we are thinking particularly of the nature of Christ’s kingship, what kind of king Christ is.

 

So it’s maybe a surprise that the Gospel reading today shows us Christ on the cross.  Pilate had ordered a sign to be hung over Jesus as he was dying:  the king of the Jews.  It was meant as an insult.  Pilate is saying to the Jews:  here is your king and he is dying as a criminal.  I am in power here and don’t you forget it.  Jesus is saying:  I am your king, and this is what it means to be king, to give up everything, even your life, even your honour, even your dignity, for the sake of the kingdom.

 

That’s the kind of king Christ is.

 

He had said to his disciples:  those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.  And now he was showing them what that meant.  It means to put others first and put yourself last, even when that harms you, even when it leads to your demise.

 

That’s the kind of king Christ is.

 

And in the letter to the Christians at Colossae, Paul is reminding them that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, he is what we can see of God.  When we want to know what God is like, we look at Jesus.  Christ who is our king is also God.  Christ is king, because that is part of God’s nature.  God created everything, and that includes all those who rule on earth and exert power in the world.  But God is in charge.  Christ is king over all the systems and governments and ideologies.  They may think that they are in control, but they are wrong.  Whatever power they hold is subject to God.  Those who rule unjustly will come to an end and their authority will be crushed.

 

And that’s worth remembering at a time when world politics is all over the place, and people can’t agree on the right way forward.  In the end, Christ is in charge.  It may not always seem like it, but in the end, Christ will make things right, but that happens in God’s time.

 

That’s the kind of king Christ is.

 

And Paul says also that Christ rules also over the invisible powers, the power of darkness, the power of lies and deceit, the power of death and destruction, the power of greed and pride and malice and hatred.  None of these can win out in the end.  Because God’s power, the power of light and love is greater than all these.

 

That’s the kind of king Christ is.

 

So Christ our King is God, he is in charge of the world we can see and rules over the invisible powers that we don’t understand, and he is a king who gave himself up to death for us.  That the kind of king Christ is.

 

And we are called to follow him, to give him our allegiance, to enthrone him in our hearts, to dedicate our lives to him.  When we do that, we become citizens of another kingdom, the kingdom of heaven.  And Christ calls us to live as his citizens now.  It affects every part of our lives, and we have to work out what that means for each one of us.

 

I invite you to reflect on what that means – I am going to read a prayer, a reflection:

 

Jesus, anointed one, Jesus the Christ,

Come, reign in my heart,

Be my king,

Rule in my life.

 

Open my eyes to see things your way;

Open my ears to hear your voice guiding me;

Open my heart to your presence in all things.

Shape my priorities,

Shape my will and my desire.

Be the centre of my life, my goal, my end.

Let me live for you.

 

Let me live as a citizen of your kingdom.

And let your kingdom grow and flourish

Here, in my heart, in my church, in my community.

In your kingdom, the poor have enough to eat,

Those who live at the edges are welcomed in,

Those who are imprisoned by their attitudes and addictions,

Those who are chained by their hurts and memories –

They are set free.

In your kingdom, we can see clearly.

In your kingdom, our hurts are healed.

May your kingdom come,

And may I be a part of it.

 

Jesus, anointed one, Jesus the Christ,

Come, reign in my heart,

Be my king.

 

If you would like a copy of the meditation/prayer I have just read, I have left some in the hall so that you can take one and use it as part of your own prayer and reflection.

 

Also, I want to give you some homework.  You know the three lines from the Lord’s Prayer:  your kingdom come; your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  This week, reflect on those words.  Think about what it means for you.  Think about what Christ’s kingdom is like, and what does it mean for us to do God’s will in our world.

 

You might want to keep a small notebook and write down the thoughts that come to you.  And let me know how it goes.

Advertisements