Brad’s Foote-Notes 25th November 2012
Reign of Christ/Christ the King Sunday
Good morning and welcome to worship on this the last Sunday of the Church Year. Next Sunday is the First Sunday in Advent. Today, however, is called Reign of Christ or Christ the King Sunday. Although there may be some who would question the need for a church calendar and the like, I’ve found it helpful to have some structure and framework that offers a guide through the important seasons of our Christian belief and practices. Without such a guide pointing to the key markers of our faith, we are left to drift around bobbing from one religious experience to the next, grabbing whatever religious teaching that comes our way. The Lectionary (Church Calendar) actually highlights every important aspect of the Christian faith, whether we like it or not. It provides a discipline that moves us away from just emphasizing our favourite passages and themes.
So today on Reign of Christ Sunday, we are invited to remember that the “Kingdom of God” or “Reign of God” — to which Jesus constantly pointed — is as fully available now and always is, as it was 2,000 years ago. The question that remains each Reign of Christ Sunday is whether we will choose to live as if the one who reigns is not Caesar, but God.
The readings for today are as follows:- John 18: 33-37 (Jesus before Pilate); 2 Samuel 23:1-7 King David’s dying/last words), Psalm 132:1-18 one of David’s ‘royal psalms’) and Revelation 1:4b-8 (Jesus is ruler and King of this earth, the Alpha and Omega).
Each of these readings on their own, give a glimpse or facet of the nature and character of God’s reign and realm, but when they are brought together they present a greater display of the paradoxical nature of God’s revelation and plan.
Jesus speaks truth to power about ultimate power in John 18:33-37 where he seems to show Pilate’s grip on truth and power to be not nearly as strong as Pilate would assume. Pilate represents an empire whose foundation is might, whose reality is power, whose leader is a god. And yet Jesus offers the vision of a different realm, one that is grounded in seeming powerlessness, whose leader is a servant. This is the truth to which Jesus gives testimony, he was born to usher in this reign.
Jesus’ realm is not of this world! At least, not of this world which is seduced by a lust for power, usually at the cost of truth; this world which is so willing to barter truth for the latest political slogan; this world which is willing to give allegiance to those who end up demonstrating absolutely no loyalty towards it; this world which passes more credence in false sincerity, than simple truth telling. Our Australian political landscape is littered with the casualties of such ‘worldly’ leadership.
Here is a prayer that can guide us through the ‘simple complexities’ of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.
God whose reign is one paradox after another:
Lamb or shepherd, of this world or not of this world, now and not yet…
As people of faith we wonder how best to speak of this kingdom.
As the year once more turns over, give us wisdom and vision.
Help us to see how your Reign is here, is being born, and is just over the horizon
so that we can be people of hope in a world too often given to cynicism and despair.
May you experience the dynamic humility of Christ as King in your life …this week
Rev Brad Foote