Christ the King
Christ the King 2012
We stand today at the end of a painful and difficult week for the Church, few will have escaped the news that the General Synod failed to pass the legislation which would allow female bishops to be consecrated in the Church of England. There has been a lot of hurt and heartbreak, angst, tears, defiant reaction.
There’s been questioning and doubt, and a little fiestyness ( more to come I know!)
Along side this there has been the unspeakable fighting in Gaza. Children killed, retaliation, fear, hurt violence and political rhetoric, and a fragile ceasefire, doing little but pause the guns tentatively.
Today is the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday when we particularly focus on Christ in heaven in majesty, Christ the creator and ruler of the coming Kingdom, Christ the judge and the ruler of all.
How do we bring this week in our world, with all its broken hearts and bodies, the unnamed hurting ones, as well as the headlines, how do we bring those situations to church with us today and reconcile them with a celebration of Christ’s omnipotence and power?
Does it appear to us that God is in control? I guess that might depend on what side you find yourself in various debates, or in a war zone, but the truth is that our world is broken and hurting, it is crying out to be transformed.
And this has everything to do with today, with Christs Kingship and with our role and calling as his followers.
On Wednesday, the day after the Synod vote, the reading at communion was Revelation 4, another vision of God as King, worshiped and in great power & authority, just as in our reading today
I spoke then about remembering in the midst of everything that swirls around us, when our lives are shaken that God is in charge, that he was & is and is to come, he holds eternity, and when we make that the basis of our lives and our being, when we see the world from his perspective, we can begin to believe in the words of Julian of Norwich, that “all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well”
But even as we recall Christ the King in Glory, we remember the sort of Kingdom he came to create. As Kingdom “ not of this world” conforming to the expectations of this world, steeped in pomp and majesty, hierarchy and authoritarian rule.
Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God into reality, the Kingdom which is a topsy turvey kingdom, subverting accepted values and making a difference from the bottom up.
The Kingdom where Christ reigns values the weak not the mighty, it draws in the hurt and the vulnerable, and will bring them together to that place of glory when he reigns over all.
The Kingdom where Christ reigns is a place where justice is done, where no longer are people marginalised and discriminated against, where human rules do not squash and thwart the growth and good of those who have been made in Gods image. Where all can grow into his likeness and fulfil their call.
The Kingdom where Christ reigns is a place of peace. Where humans made in Gods image feel no need to fight or be violent. Where people live in equity and commonality, where safty and peace abide.
The kingdom where Christ reigns is where we are all being transformed into his likeness,
At the start of Synod on Tuesday ++ Rowan said
“By the end of today, whether the world will look at the General Synod and the Church of England and say ‘That looks like Jesus Christ’ is a large prayer to ask. But it is the prayer we have to be asking because there’s probably no other prayer worth praying.”
Even in our disagreements we can be christlike… sadly I don’t think that prayer was answered, though many there and in the church have shown immense Christlike spirit over this issue.
Christs Kingdom is not one in which we as its citizens can be passive. Indeed we have a role not just in being of the Kingdom but in bringing it into being.
In Micah chapter 6 we’re told,
“this is what the Lord requires of you, to do justly, love mercy and walk hmbly with your God”
If we do not fight for justice in our country, in our world,
If we do not speak out when people are oppressed and constrained, if we do not work to see equity and fairness in our world, in economics and politics and in our own relationships, then we are actually hindering the coming of Christ’s kingdom.
Where we do not work for peace, and offer kindness, in our communities, our workplaces and our world, we prevent and block the reign of the King, the prince of Peace.
Where we try and lift ourselves up at the expense of others, then what we are is diminished, and the world will not see Christ in us.
None of this is easy.
We hurt and we are victims of injustice just as much as others are. We don’t live outside our world, but as part of it.
But part of what we must do, is to work with that, to gather our hurts and anxieties, our past and our present
and bring it before our King, the king who transforms the lowliest offerings into things of great beauty, who turns our hurts into glorious things
Brother Roger prayer:
Gather everything that happens, trivialities included, without reservation, regret or nostalgia, in inexhaustible wonder. Set out, going forward one step at a time, from doubt toward faith, not worrying about the impossible ahead. Light fire, even with the thorns that tear you.
This is how we build Christ’s Kingdom, this is how we acknowledge him as King.
This Kingdom turns things on its head, it is truly not of this world, it is a place of great peace and beauty, hard won, not by military might but by the work of Christ on the cross and the faith and discipleship of his followers.
We gather all that has been, and all that will be and we offer it and Know that despite what we see around us, despite the hurt, Christ is King, he is the King of Kings and he will reign for ever and ever.