A Reflection on John 18:36-37
Christ the King Sunday, November 25, 2018
Today is the last Sunday in the church calendar (which is far more important than the secular calendar in my opinion) – it is Christ the King Sunday, the final Sunday of Ordinary Time before the start of a new church year next week with the first Sunday of Advent. The church year has been around for many centuries – it goes back at least to the third century, and has always been used to tell the story of Jesus beginning with Advent, proceeding to Christmastide (12 days), followed by Epiphany, followed by a few weeks of Ordinary time before Lent, Eastertide (7 weeks) and Pentecost. The remainder of the year is Ordinary time. This year at our church, I am preaching sermons related to the Church calendar and planning book and topical studies during Ordinary time.
At any rate, Christ the King: A whole different sort of King than any the world had ever seen before or has seen since. This King, King Jesus, is nonviolent, does not resist evil, absorbs all sin into Himself, forgives His murderers while on the cross, is perfect unconditional love, never coerces, never seeks revenge, washes feet like a slave, and is filled with mercy and grace for all.
A different kind of Kingdom, not like those that grow in the world via power, military might, intimidation, force, violence, and oppression.
This is not a kingdom built on the idols America worships: Mars, the god of war, nationalism, violence, oppression, militarism, might and coercion; Mammon, the god of consumerism, of exploiting natural resources for monetary gain, the god of capitalism, economic, social, and environmental injustice; or Aphrodite, the goddess of pleasure, leisure and luxury at the expense of others. This Kingdom is radically different.
This Kingdom has no geographical area, no borders, no walls, no troops, no armies or navies, no guns, no manipulation or violence. It has no political parties, no parliament, no senate.
This Kingdom is now. It is not in the bye and bye or in a distant heaven. This King is here now. Not off someplace on a throne, observing disapprovingly.
This Kingdom is made up of people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, ages, languages, cultures, nationalities, and traditions. These people all have one thing in common: They pledge allegiance to Jesus and to Jesus alone. They identify as citizens of the Kingdom of God.
They have new identities in Christ. They are beloved of God, accepted by God, forgiven by God, welcomed and embraced by God, adored by God. In Christ, they are calm, content, wise, unafraid, and rooted in love. They are passionate about caring for creation; they are deeply concerned about loving and serving those who are broken, addicted, homeless, refugees, starving, or victims of disasters, or wars, or of racism or economic injustice.
They are nonviolent, nonparticipatory in war, would rather be killed than kill another (after all, they know where they are going).
They live simply so they can be lavish in giving. They live in community, sharing everything. They are generous, benevolent, openhearted, serving, and supportive.
They are pro-life:
- They support adoption and programs to help the poor so that abortions are not chosen.
- They oppose capital punishment, militarism, war and violence.
- They oppose racism, xenophobia, jingoism, homophobia, sexism, and misogyny.
- They seek to bring to every human that which is needed to sustain life – peace, healthful food, clean water, proper sanitation, medical and dental care, affordable housing, education, opportunity, freedom, human companionship and touch.
- They care about the elderly, the infirmed, the addicted, the sick, and the mentally ill.
One Kingdom: The Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God.
One King: King Jesus