Today is a very special day in our church year. It’s Reign of Christ Sunday, and that’s the day when we celebrate the fact that Christ is the King of our lives. Now there are good kings and there are bad, evil kings.
Today is also the church’s version of New Year’s Eve. Next Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Not only does it mark the beginning of another year in the life of the church, it also marks the beginning of the season where we prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus. In other words, we prepare ourselves for Christmas.
Now, at the risk of upsetting your parents and grandparents, I’m going to ask you a question. Are you starting to get excited for Christmas? Well boys and girls, I’m going to tell you a little story about someone else who got excited.
How many of you have seen the movie “The Lion King”? Well then, you might remember that Simba was anxious to become king because he did not want anyone to tell him what to do. He didn't want to hear anyone saying, "Do this" or "stop that." He wanted to be free to run around all day doing everything his way.
It wasn't just that Simba didn't want anyone to tell him what to do; he was also looking forward to telling everyone else what to do. Just listen to what he says! "I'm going to be a mighty king so enemies beware! I'm going to be the main event like no king was before. I'm brushing up on looking down. I'm working on my ROAR! Oh, I just can't wait to be king!"
I think that Simba had a very poor idea of what it means to be a king. You see, the real role of a king is to look after the needs of his people. A good king is more concerned with caring for his people than he is in being served.
During his last days on earth, Jesus was arrested and put on trial. When he was asked by Pilate if he was a king, Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world." I’m going to speak more about the conversation Jesus had with Pilate when I deliver my homily to the adults later on in this morning’s service.
Yes, Jesus was a king, but he wasn't interested in running around free and doing things his way. He was only interested in doing the will of his Father. In other words, he did what his Father told him to do.
I’m also going to tell you a story about someone else who did not like being told what to do. It’s about a boy named Johnny. Now Johnny's father took him to the park to play in the big sand pile. "Johnny," he said, "you stay here and play in the sand while I sit on the bench over there." So, his father took his newspaper and sat on the bench. Johnny took his little shovel and put sand in his bucket. Then he went over to a girl who was also playing in the sand.
"Want some sand?" he asked. "Okay," the little girl said. Johnny put his shovel in the bucket and scooped out some sand. "Hold out your hand," Johnny said to the little girl. The little girl held out both hands, and Johnny poured the sand into her hands. It ran down her arms and through her fingers and she laughed.
"You want some more sand?" asked Johnny. "Okay," said the little girl. So, Johnny took another scoop of sand, but this time when she put out her hands, he poured the sand on her head. She began to cry. Her mother came right over. She got down so she could look right in Johnny's eyes and said, "That was not nice. If you can't play nice, you may not play in the sand pile." You know what Johnny said back to the lady? He said, "You aren't the boss of me."
That night when Johnny and his father were getting ready to say prayers, they talked about what had happened that day in the sand pile in the park. "That lady isn't the boss of me," Johnny said again.
"Who is the boss of you, then?" said his father. "You are,” said Johnny. "And who else?" asked his father. "I don't know," said Johnny.
"What about Jesus? Is Jesus the boss of you?" asked his father. "I guess so," said Johnny.
"So what would Jesus say to you when you dumped sand on the girl's head?" asked his father. "I don't know," said Johnny. "Think again," said his father.
"Maybe he would tell me to stop," said Johnny.
"That's good," said his father. "I'm proud of you. You know what Jesus would say. Now, what would you do if Jesus said stop?" "I would stop," said Johnny.
"So, maybe that lady was telling you for Jesus," said his father. "Did you think about that?"
"No," said Johnny. "I didn't think about that." "Johnny," said his father, "you know when we bow our heads in church; you know what that means?" "It means we are praying," said Johnny. "Yes," said his father, "and it also means Jesus is the boss of us."
Boys and girls, Jesus was born to be king, but his kingdom is not on this earth -- it is in heaven. He only came to earth to make a way for us to live with him in heaven.
Let’s bow our heads and close our eyes for a moment of prayer. Dear God, thank you for being our king. Thank you for telling us what to do, what to say and what to think. Give us the wisdom to always obey you, even though at times we don’t want to. We ask this in the name of your son our Saviour Jesus Christ, AMEN