Thursday, November 17, 2016

Resetting our Priorities: Christ the King, Year C-Last Sunday After Pentecost, Proper 29

It's one of those Sundays that hangs about as a left-over of another age of liturgical observance in our Church's calendar. It isn't officially the Feast of Christ the King, this last Sunday after Pentecost...but we remember it as it once was in some pretty dramatic ways:

  • First, the lessons always hold forth on the ideal of sacrificial leadership as being the core of God's standard for any use of human power. Leaders, pastoral, judicial or political are to be judged by how they measure up against God's desire that the poor and dispossessed by cared for, and in how justice (again, by God's standard and not earthly standard) is meted out in mercy and consideration for the good of God's beloved.
  • Second, the hymns recommended call to mind the sovereignty of God and of God's Son, Jesus, as does the collect for the day. Jesus is remembered as "King of kings and Lord of lords." Jesus sits at the pinnacle of any and every network or society that we humans might attempt to forge. That means that even the most powerful, the more influential, the greatest among us humans....is and always will be on the rung below the one to whom every knee shall bow.
  • Finally, with the Gospel story we remember and recall Jesus' death on the cross.Sure, we celebrate Christ's sovereign nature and hail hosannas to the King of kings; but we are also challenged to draw near to our audience with that Prince as we step to the foot of the cross. He is exalted, and lifted up on high...On. A. Cross.
So, in tumultuous times, this coming Sunday is a stark reminder that the authority we represent as followers of Jesus, and the calling we proclaim to follow him as the anointed Son of God is one not of triumph...but of humility, and of grace-filled submission of self to the service of others.

To lead as a follower of Jesus is to commit to the most profound and challenging of standards of accountability and transparency to God and to our fellow human beings. To celebrate Christ the King is to see that regency of the Savior as one not of exultancy...but of submission, so that all may know and see the true and revealed mercy of God. It is to remember that we are the heirs of a remarkable heritage, a salvation that flows from us to fill every fissure in a broken world with light, hope, justice and love.

It is to see the Cross, a symbol of scandal and outrage to the body (and the Body) transformed into a heraldic promise of the renewal of life itself in resurrection.

It is to recognize that when we feel the most broken, the most lost....it is at these moments that the true Victory of our God is made manifest.

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