A reflection for Christ the King Sunday.*
The RCL readings can be found here.
Today is Christ the King Sunday. For those of you who do not participate in a church that follows liturgical calendar, it is the last Sunday before the season of Advent (the four Sundays before Christmas, the first Sunday of Advent marking the beginning of the new church year). Christ is the Eternal King and we set this day as a special day to focus on his reign over all in heaven and on earth.
We can get so caught up in the personalities of our earthly leaders that it becomes easy for us to forget that Christ reigns over us now, on earth, in this day and time. It isn’t some ideal we hope to achieve or the state of things after we die, but the current reality of God’s creation, whether we acknowledge it or not.
The Israelites begged God for a king so that they can be like the other nations. God warned them against it and said he was to be their ruler and that he should be enough for them. They didn’t let God be enough. They demanded more and God have them what they asked for. And most of the time, according to the Old Testament, it didn’t go well for them.
How do we view our earthly leaders? Do we look to them first as a model for how we should pattern our life? In the United States, we get to vote new local, state, and national leaders in or out on a regular basis. How do we choose who to vote for? Do the character, ethics, or morality of the individual person play a part in our decision? Do we consider whether an individual really has the greater good of our whole nation as their motivation and goal or do we choose charisma over character?
How do we view Jesus? Do we make him our ultimate authority? Do we let Jesus’ model of a leader be enough for us?
In the bit we read from John’s telling of the Good News today, Jesus has been arrested and is before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea, who firsts asks Jesus if he is the king of the Jews. Jesus explains to Pilate that his Kingdom is of this world. Confused, Pilot asks if Jesus is A king. Kings aren’t kings without a kingdom and kingdoms cannot not exist except in the world. And Jesus responds, “You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.”
Jesus is not the king of the Jews nor is he simply ‘A’ king. He is The King. The One True King whom all other kings and earthly leaders are subject to whether they acknowledge it or not. This is the Truth Jesus speaks of. God is God. Jesus is The King. This is the reality in which we live whether we acknowledge it or not. With this Truth, living on earth as in heaven, we hear and follow Jesus’ voice as he leads us in the Way of Love.
Who do you say Jesus is?
*Now that I am back in parish ministry, I will be preaching every other Sunday. For the alternate Sundays I will still do a short(ish) reflection on the lectionary readings.