Dear friends in Christ,
This coming Sunday we celebrate the kingship of Christ, as we always do on the Last Sunday after Pentecost. But what does that mean for us modern Christians?
To celebrate Jesus as our king and our Lord is to reject all others who might try to lay claim on us as our Lord. Many of the earliest Christians died for professing, “Jesus is Lord” rather than saying that Caesar was Lord. This is perhaps a poignant and necessary reminder for us coming in a time of intense political wrangling.
Neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump has claim on us, ultimately. We belong to Jesus. We are not first Republicans or Democrats, but people who worship a savior who asks us to take up our cross and follow him, turning away from all others who might beckon us to follow.
And what kind of king is Jesus, anyway? The Gospel reading for this Sunday brings us the parable of the sheep and the goats. In the parable, the king tells us what is important and what matters in the end.
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Jesus shows us the way. He is a king of compassion, mercy, grace, and sacrifice. His most kingly act is his free offering of himself for our salvation on the cross.
I don’t know about you, but after listening to blustery politicians, I need to listen to another voice proclaiming a message of mercy and grace. Coming up on a pre-Christmas season when consumer spending will run amok, I need to be reminded that sacrifice rather than possessions is where we find our meaning. When our allegiance is demanded by political parties, nations, and corporations, I need to be reminded that my first and most precious allegiance is to Jesus Christ.
May we all profess Jesus as Lord, and may our lives show forth what we profess with our lips.
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