>I’m back from a week off. I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was restful and wonderful.
Yesterday was the feast of Christ the King. Strange that a man who never wanted to be king is feted as just that. Yesterday’s Gospel from Luke, the crucifixion, tells us that people stood at Golgatha jeering and deriding Jesus for not saving himself, for not using a ‘kingly perogative’, perhaps. After all, can’t kings order a stay of execution? His executioners placed a sign over him stating that Jesus was King of the Jews.
I can’t remember once if Jesus ever said he wanted to be a king; I believe he said the opposite, didn’t he? Only in John’s gospel does he mention that his kingdom is not of this earth when Pilate asks Jesus if he is the king of the Jews; in the synoptics, Jesus replies “You say so” to Pilate’s inquiry.
So who says Jesus is King?
Those who knew Jesus, and lived and ate with him, were expecting a secular, temporal king, the kind they knew about – one they hoped would commission an army and liberate his oppressed people, rule wisely and justly. The earthly kings they experienced were very different from that ideal, and Jesus’ followers hoped he would be different.
He was different.
The disciples and the followers didn’t get the message at first. What Jesus taught in his preaching and showed them by example was not a revolution that they could understand, but something wonderful and revolutionary. The Kingdom Jesus invited people to enter was one where the human heart was transformed, where equality and acceptance, all kinds of people were welcomed, and loved unconditionally by God. This was the truth Jesus spoke of – in relationships and dialogues with God, the truth is acted out and felt. In this kingdom, Jesus is the sovereign. He is the king of our hearts.
The truth is, the reign of God through Christ is here and now; it’s always been here; it took Jesus to open our hearts and minds to recognize what was right in front our noses and join in. The reign of Christ began before the world began, and when Jesus was called to proclaim the good news, to heal the sick, befriend the outcasts of society, the reign became a reality for humanity. The reality for Christians today, looking back over the centuries, is that God became tangible in Jesus’ life of ministry and resurrection. The invitation extended to the disciples to and followers is now extended to us, challenging us to continue the revolution in hearts and minds and discover the truth that lies within, here, in each of us.
We ended the Christian year yesterday, and a season of preparation, Advent, is before us. We have an opportunity to prepare ourselves for the Truth of an eternal life of unconditional love, of a place in the Kingdom of God that the King of our hearts, Jesus, invites us to embrace.
Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord!