Saturday, November 25, 2006

CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY:
Click here for the readings for today.
An interesting Feast Day - developed in the last century by Pope Pius XI during the time of Mussolini. Depending on who you read it was either a bargain to not say anything about governments while maintaining the Holy See at the Vatican or it was a way to proclaim Christ in the face of facism, communism and other isms that were threatening to overwhelm the world of faith with secular gods. It was proclaimed in 1925 and it was not until 1969 when it was fixed on the date of the last Sunday of the Church Year.
King Jesus is a concept that is hard for me to reconcile with Jesus the crucified one, the servant, the compassionate, the one who dines with the outcasts and the insiders, etc. When I hear the word King - I think of Elvis or tyrants of old, Pop stars or absolute rulers. Currently we have a Queen in England. That is an image of someone who seems somewhat anachronistic, wearing hats and carrying a purse, dedicating buildings, symbolizing a bygone age. In the days of Pilate - he is trying to maintain his political position caught between the Romans on the one hand and the Jews he was trying to rule on the other. He makes Jesus out to be either danger or a fool. A danger must be killed, a fool so no one will want to follow him.
But Jesus accepts neither position. He stands essentially silent allowing the truth of his being to show us another way.
All during the Gospel of John he refuses those who desire to turn him into a king, instead he reveals that those who would be first will be last, that servants are the true leaders, and no one can lead without learning how to wash feet.
It is right relationship that is the mark of the realm of Christ. It is not so much a "kingdom" as a "kindom" -- a place where there is no "father" but God, and all are sisters and brothers concerned with one another's well-being as if we were all of the same family.
We just had the great American holiday - Thanksgiving - where families of birth and families of choice gathter to share food and time with one another. Where all who come to the country give thanks to God in the way they understand God. Where there is concern that all get to share in the feast. I love the ad on TV where the kids are putting on a play about the first immigrants - they all got sick on the boat, then they froze the first winter, they stole from the Indians, then they all watched football and had a happy ending. Somehow it is the truth of our history - the bad and the good of our lives. God comes into the reality of that truth as Jesus and lives in our midst showing us that truth and a new truth. That we can be the best of ourselves not the worst
Christ the fully human One reveals our divinity. He asks us to walk in his ways, to follow him, to learn from him. Never do you hear in the Gospels - worship me, only Follow me. This the message of the Feast of Christ the King - follow, walk in the paths of right relationship with one another. The Navajo call it Walking in Beauty - right relationship with the earth and all creatures, Dostoevsky says the world will be saved by such beauty.
When we look in the mirror of truth that is Christ we see both our failings and our potential. We see what is possible if we accept the way of the Christ's reign. We are freed from the failings and brought together in a new dominion - where all are able to live into the fullness of their creation.

2 comments:

Daniel Berry said...

For various reasons, some people do have the trouble with the concept of Christ as King. However. we must remember that Kine, He is--in whatever context you can accept that. "God is the Ruler yet," as the hymn says; and it is imperative to find some way to communicate that to a secular world. Sorry I haven't been around as much lately, but I'm very thankful and appreciative for your blog.

Ann said...

In my sermon I added that giving our 0.7% to an MDG based agency like Episcopal Relief and Development keeps Thanksgiving spreading throughout God's kindom. Ann