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     This Week's Focus -  "Thy Kingdom Come"
      Click the link for John 18:33-37  

 















 


 Dear Friends,
What kind of king is born in a stable? What kind of king wanders around telling stories all day? What kind of king seeks out the low-lifes and the losers and heaps scorn on the big-shots? This kind of king doesn't have a castle. He doesn’t own a coach. His only crown is made of thorns. What kind of king is that?

He’s… Our King, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, Our Lord and Savior. There never was and never will be another king like him.

Think about it… a hundred years ago eighty percent of the world was ruled by monarchs. Now the idea of kings and queens and emperors seems only a quaint echo of ancient times... just a boost for the British tourist trade and an endless source of material for Masterpiece Theatre… great escapist fluff, but all very unreal, all very unrelatable to real life.  

We are much more comfortable with the Good Shepherd metaphor… the loving, protective, gentle Jesus. So, what’s a 21st Century American Christian to make of all this king and kingdom stuff?

Jesus always spoke in terms the people understood ... the mustard seed, the lost sheep, the prodigal son. The concept of kingdoms and kingship was equally familiar to his listeners. It clearly described relationships, order, authority, and responsibility.

But that doesn’t mean that God is seated on a throne, has flowing robes and a long white beard? Our Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier doesn’t need costumes and stage props. Neither will he be “up in heaven.” “Up” and “Down” are directions derived from gravity. God created gravity and all the other physical laws that govern the universe. He is not defined or constrained by them. And for that matter neither is God  “He.” Rather God is being itself. He is the eternal “I am”… not limited by gender, matter, time or space.

With all God’s awesome power at his command, Jesus was a terrible disappointment to those who wanted the Messiah to slaughter their enemies and dominate their neighbors. But the peace of Christ is not the product of conquest. It is a labor of love. The kingdom Christ preached has no frontiers, no army, no navy. But it does have a constitution: Love God with your whole heart. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Over 2000 years, hundreds of powerful dynasties have had their day and faded. Only the Kingdom of God endures as fresh and as new, as vibrant and joyful as the day Jesus first proclaimed it. This Sunday we come to the end of our church year. It is fitting that we begin each year anticipating Christ’s humble birth in a stable. And we finish each year celebrating Christ the King in glory.

In the perfect prayer composed for us by Jesus, we pray: Thy kingdom come. But how will his kingdom come? Will it fall fully-formed from the sky? Will it spring up one day and surprise us? Don’t count on it. 

We were not put here to be passive supplicants seeking the kingdom only in prayer. We are meant to build the kingdom. It is our reason for being. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 7: Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord! shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father.

And what is the will of the Father? How do we make the kingdom come? How do we build it? To begin with, the kingdom is built one act of love… one act of faith… one pardoned slight… one helping hand at a time. It begins in our hearts. But it doesn’t end there. God’s love is ours to share, not to horde.

Through his gift of divine grace, the foundations of the kingdom have been sunk solidly into our hearts. Christ is faithfully waiting for us to build on that foundation. This side of heaven, that is where and how his kingdom will come. But first, we must overthrow our personal kingdoms of pride… ruled over by our unchecked egos. We must depose the prince of sin who usurps God’s place in our hearts.

As we put our own house in order, we answer the call to join Christ’s construction crew… building The Kingdom of God… nourishing the Body of Christ… creating The Beloved Community. That’s the only reason we are here… to know him, to love him, to serve him in this life and to be happy with him in the next.

If in all things we seek first the kingdom of God, we have been promised that his kingdom surely will come. And if we honestly and constantly commit to letting Christ reign in our hearts, in the words of St. Jose Maria Escriva: "My every heartbeat and breath, my most ordinary word, my most basic feeling can be transformed into a hosanna to Christ, my king."

God love you!


 

A Reflection for 
The Feast of Christ the King
©The Reverend Canon David F. Sellery

 
Copyright © 2018 David Sellery, All rights reserved.


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