Christ the King

Christ the King

John 18:33-37

‘Christ the King’ Sunday – today – presents Christ to us with the regal imagery of Monarchy. And yes, of course we all respect and even admire our amazing 95-year-old monarch but, normally, we don’t like that form of government. We prefer to having those who lead us emerge from processes far more democratic than simple royal succession.

We like to vote our leaders into power – but especially we like to keep them accountable to us for how they rule, as opposed to just trusting their having carte blanche to lead however they will.

Remember that delightful 1980s sitcom ‘Who’s the Boss?’ with Tony Danza and Judith Light? He was meant to be her housekeeper but more often than not it was him calling the shots and not his employer at all. Who’s the Boss, indeed. We live with that constant dynamic in our lives. We are a people always jostling for position – trying to take charge – and doing so in all sorts of ways both subtle and not so subtle: we do it in our homes, our communities, in our nation… The moment we sense a possible leadership vacuum – man! We like to have our way.

Last week we remembered those who fought and died to secure the democracy that we now all enjoy in the so-called free western world – and truly, what a privilege that we get to choose who leads us. But democracy is not without its flaws. The main flaw may very well be that we get to choose who leads us. The folks we choose are invariably the ones who have convinced us that they are best able to satisfy most of whatever agenda we happen to have. And that’s a problem because what if many of us and our agendas are actually quite clueless – politically? Or even worse, what if we are seriously damaged at some or other level, psychologically, or emotionally, still limping as a result of, e.g., the misogyny that we’ve been faced as a younger woman, or perhaps we’re still kind of bigoted or racist or homophobic as a result of some honest ignorance that we are carrying, some other bad life experience we’ve had or some bad modelling to which we’ve been exposed. The point is that we can’t help but allow our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, our foibles, both to affect & effect the decisions we make in the privacy of the voting booth?

Of course, we know that there is no ideal form of political leadership and of course as good citizens we do choose to make the very best with whatever system we have, but that’s politically – dare we do that with God? I think we do. It’s all just so easy to project whatever we have going on inside of us, and for the god of our creation then to get our religious vote!

We like a god that we can recognize, something probably quite idolatrous, made in our image, designed to satisfy just all our wants and fears and whims…

On this ‘Christ the King’ Sunday we are reminded that while we may get away with doing that in our political lives, and while we may think we are getting away with it with God, we can’t, because only God is God, with Jesus as the face of God, the incarnation of our devotion to God[i], along with the risen Christ as the Holy-Spirit-fired encounter of our awareness of the at-once-and-everywhere Holiness of God’s Sacred Presence.

It’s as we allow God’s own Holy Spirit to animate our awareness of sacred encounter within us – an awareness of our souls – that we come alive!

I don’t ultimately want to be the ‘boss’ of anything/ or anyone – not in my own strength – and certainly not even the ultimate boss of me. On my own, trust me – I can’t be trusted!

AND NEITHER CAN YOU! …not on your own! We are all far too compromised, far too damaged, too loaded down by our own frail egos, too full of just self-praising pride.

Let’s face it: even on our best days, our ‘bossing’ invariably has much more to do with us working out our own best interests than with the realizing of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven!

But ah – there’s the rub! Thank God, we don’t EVER have to be the boss. Because, as we ARE recognizing here again today, Christ is!

It truly is essential that we don’t miss this – our recognizing the reign of ‘Christ the King’ as the one responsible for nurturing my very own coming into existence. No ugly domination here. This is the God who in Christ insists on washing our feet – the One for whom and in whom I come to know myself as well as embrace the whole reason of my existence. Christ as King is simply a statement of what just factually ‘is’. I exist, the real me, only as I come to be exposed by and aligned with the life-giving light/ the love-flow/ the stuff of Christ.

This is what draws all responsibility and praise from me for the very best of me coming into existence.  This is what is at the holiness epicenter of all sacred life in me/ you/ everyone and everything. As we inhale, we are receiving the animation that our King breathes into us, coming alive, so we are given to exhale all our living into alignment with the very one doing the animating.

No, there is absolutely no leadership vacuum here. There is nowhere that I need to take charge. This Christ the King is my King, meaning my all-protecting, all-embracing, all-defining shepherd of God’s perfect love.

Isn’t that the whole message of Psalm 23 with its beautiful metaphors of leadership ‘The King of Love me Shepherd is’ – The Good Shepherd…

O God, may our living be as the subjects of no other lesser Rule
who bullies us from a place of our weaknesses,
our frail egos and vulnerabilities,
but always the result of the ‘reign of Your love
– Christ’s love –
Christ as our Good shepherd,

And Christ alone as our King!
Amen


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[i] Jesus speaking to Philip, answering his request to ‘show us the father’ in John 14. ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father’