Christ the King Sunday – LK 23:33-38
Advent begins next week and so today – the Feast of Christ the King - is the last Festival in the Church’s year.
It is particularly fitting that we begin the Church’s year - by reflecting on Jesus’ coming to earth 2000 years ago.
We call this advent
Then he left the absolute power of his Eternal Kingship behind.
And at the end the Church’s year - TODAY - we remember that he has taken up again that absolute power of his everlasting Kingship.
“Christ the King” Sunday is a fairly recent festival.
It was started by Pope Pius XI - when he published his encyclical on 11th December 1925.
It grew out of Pius’ concern at how secular the world was becoming.
In those days communism was on the rise and people were beginning to think that “science would soon prove there was no God”
The First World War had shattered traditional values of faith in God – especially in the light of the horrendous numbers of people killed in water.
People were turning from God to humanism
And so Pope Pius wanted a festival where we remembered that Jesus really is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
So you might say – as I did when I was preparing this talk
“what a strange lesson we have this morning to remember “Christ the King”
How can the Picture of Jesus hanging on a Cross, with a jeering Roman sign above his head: “The King of the Jews” be appropriate for “Christ the King.”
Surely we should be remembering something mighty.
Jesus and the Whip of Cords
Perhaps it would have been more appropriate to read the passage from Jn 2:12-16 - the scene where Jesus makes a whip of cords and drives the moneychangers out of the Temple.
At least that would show Jesus in power!
After all – isn’t kingship all about showing off one’s power?
Pomp and ceremony?
I would like to suggest to you this morning that Jesus’ kingdom is different to worldly kingdoms
Jesus kingdom is made up of the weak and the brokenhearted – not the powerful and the strong
Jesus’ kingdom is made up of those who realise their unworthiness to stand in the presence of almighty God.
Jesus’ Kingdom CAME through the power of the Cross – for it is through the Cross that Jesus would draw those who the Father gave him to himself.
The more I thought and mulled over the passage I realised that this was EXACTLY the right passage
Christ’s kingship was shown on the Cross
Our lesson this morning showing Jesus in humiliating circumstances – hanging naked on a Cross challenges us to sit up and think about the nature of God’s kingdom
And for me the key to Jesus’ kingship is found in Jesus immortal words:
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Lk 23:34)
That was the key why Jesus came to earth in the first place.
His death enabled us to become Children of God
That is why the communion is so central to our faith. For it is there that we remember his death that opened the gates of heaven to let us in
Jesus took simple every day elements – bread and wine to help us remember.
I am not a great cook but I thought we might like to try to make some bread for our communion service this morning ourselves
So what do we need to make bread
And a bit of heat
And so we have pour bread for this morning’s communion!
One unknown writer had this to say about Jesus
Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today he remains the central figure of the human race, and the leader of mankind’s progress.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man on this planet so much as that one solitary life.
Yes, Jesus Christ was someone special –
Unlike Elvis Presley – Jesus Christ is the KING