Daniel 7: 9 – 10, 13 – 14
Revelation 1: 4b – 8
John 18: 33 – 37
Several years ago, while I was still a parish priest, some parishioners came to me with a question. Robin and Anne were actually Baptists, but since we were the only church on the island where they lived, they attended the Church of the Good Shepherd. Some of the things that we as Anglicans took as a matter of course, were of concern to them, or else simply puzzled them. On this particular occasion, they had questions about the use of the lectionary.
Since the lectionary was, they felt, simply a human construct, what would happen if I believed God desired me to proclaim a certain message that in no way related to the appointed texts on that particular day. Would I, they wondered, be free to choose other readings? I don’t remember my answer. I think it was pretty wishy-washy. What I do remember, after nearly forty years, is the question. It still haunts me.
Were Robin and Anne to appear today and ask me the same question, I would have a very different answer. The real question is not, what if God wants me to address something outside the scope of the readings on any particular day. The real question is what to do if the lectionary forces you to look at something you would rather not!
Christ the King Sunday
Daniel 7:9 -10, 13 -14
Rev. 1:4b -8
John 18:33 -37
Today is Christ the King Sunday, the very last Sunday of the Christian year. Which means that, ready or not, next week is Advent Sunday, the first Sunday of the year. This last Sunday draws our attention to the last things, the end times, the vision of the consummation and renewal of all things.
One of the chief images of this vision of the end times is Christ the King. King of kings and Lord of lords, the Lamb upon his throne in the Book of Revelation: “Crown him with many crowns…”
But what kind of king is this, who was born in a stable, lain in a manger, worked in a carpentry shop, washed people’s feet and then died on a cross? The Roman imperial authority, Pontius Pilate, would have entered Jerusalem in great pomp and display of military power, entering from the west, having come up from King Herod’s lavish port city of Caesarea, most likely riding a magnificent horse.The King of Kings came up from the east, through the barren splendor of the Judean desert and up and over the Mount of Olives—riding a donkey.
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Revelation 1:4b-8; John 18:33-37
Today is the Feast of Christ the King. The theme is “kingship.”
From the prophecy of Daniel, we read of one “like a human being” who comes with the clouds of heaven and to whom is given “dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.”
In the book of Revelation, John speaks of Jesus as “the Alpha and the Omega,” and “the ruler of the kings of the earth.”
In John, Pilate asks if Jesus is the King of the Jews, to which Jesus replies that “[his] kingdom is not from this world.” His followers do not need to defend him against his enemies and betrayers since his kingdom is “not from here.”
So, Jesus is a king, but in no sense that the world understands. What sort of a king is he, and what implications does his kingship have for 21st century Christians who no longer think in terms of kings and kingdoms?
This Last Sunday after Pentecost is also called, The Feast of Christ the King. The words of one of the antiphons for the first Evensong of Christmas Day speaks to me especially this year. “ The King of Peace is highly exalted, passing all the kings of the whole earth.” This theme of Christ the King of Peace is one I think we need to think about especially at this time.