Christ the King

Christ the King

Summary

Psalm 46

Will Willimon begins his commentary on this passage with these words: Most of us live under the illusion that our world, that is, the world we have constructed for ourselves, is predictable, stable, and fixed. Yet not so! Because there are always those times when our worlds are shaken, fall apart. What then? Psalm 46 tells us that it’s then as we reach out for God we find that God is a refuge and a strength, an ever present help – and particularly so in our times of trouble!

One of the very many things I’ve always cherished about Linda is her ability to make a nest… Create routines… Establish procedures… Order… I think of our moving to our new home here in Vernon and how hard she worked to settle things down… Or whenever we go camping…

Willimon describes his bathroom routine, explaining how, when he travels, he carefully arranges his toiletries on the bathroom counter, attempting to recreate something of his home in every hotel bathroom. I think we truly all do that – in one way or another – some better than others! We construct little micro-worlds of order around ourselves – predictable routines to follow, programs, habits, relationships. They give us a sense of stability and order. Even meaning and purpose. It’s an illusion of course, because we also know that all it takes is for just one thing to dislodge… for us to realize just how fragile our constructed world is…

It’s true what they say, that ‘every one of us is just that one dreaded late-night phone call away from falling apart.  It’s the devastation of the single mom – SO proud of her only son – who saw his car crushed among the highway wreckage reported on the local news. I think of that beloved older couple who, after that late night Christmas Eve service, were just one icy misstep onto the bus away from utter disaster. It’s just that one visit to the doctor and malignant medical result…

Of course we know that there are all sorts of spiritual practices that help us stay close to God.

Some find it helpful to have regular times each day to pray, others find it helpful regularly to read scripture. Some journal on a regular basis while still others walk the labyrinth.

Some people fast regularly, or try to get away on retreat as often as possible: times to refocus and re-center/ be re-aligned with Christ as God’s Sacred Presence within them. Each of these are valid and beautiful disciplines of faith. But according to Psalm 46 one of the most powerful ways of getting really close to God is when trouble comes & our worlds fall apart, because that’s primarily when we may actually discover that: “God is our refuge and strength, and is a very present help always near in times of great trouble.” It was Corrie Ten Boom, I believe, who said: You’ll never know Christ is all you need until Christ is all you have. Of cause I agree that it would be good if we all routinely called out to God in our good times, but like many, I confess that I don’t.

It’s for us – people like you and me – that Psalm 46 especially has a word:

On this ‘Christ the King’ Sunday: …knowing that in times of our greatest trouble, we can always reach out to God for refuge and strength …and we can do so knowing that God – who is always bigger and greater than our circumstances – promises always to reach back toward us. That is such a comfort. But I would like to suggest that there are at least 2 further very precious implications of this beautiful truth:

The first has to do with the worlds that we create! We are NOT ultimately in charge! Of course we must do the best we can in order to build the very best world we can, but good  or bad, successful or unsuccessful, we are NEVER to be defined only by what we have built or attempted to build, because what we do is never what is most actual, most eternal. …you’d think we would have learnt that lesson after the whole Tower of Babel thing…

Another implication of Christ as the King has to do with the perspective we hold! We have to remain open ALWAYS to the reality that however compelling it may be, there’s always God’s perspective! Ours is not the only perspective on anything! It seems to me that we get it wrong as we take ourselves and what we make or don’t make of ourselves too seriously! As if THIS is all that ultimately matters! It’s not! Instead, we are reminded here that there are things/ dimensions/ factors we cannot see, and so cannot appreciate! We don’t know everything! We leave that to God whose perspective is always toward something higher, better, more…

The effect of all that is the greatest possible freedom for us! And for risk! That’s why we can bring our greatest creativity! We are released to do our best knowing that there is room for us to fail!


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