Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christ as king?

This Sunday is Christ the King Sunday. We crown the end of the church year by thinking about Jesus as the true authority in the world.

I often struggle with the image of Christ as King. In the United States, we don’t have a king. However, I don’t know if I like the image of Jesus as president, either.

Yes, Jesus is powerful, mighty, and worthy of praise. Crown him with many crowns—potentate of time, ineffably sublime. His name is wonderful. But our human language is so limited in ways to describe who God is and what God does.

Jesus is a different sort of authority.
Jesus is not a king in the Disney-movie-castle-and-moat sort of way.
Jesus is also not a dictator yielding oppression and injustice.
Rather, the power of Jesus is the power of the cross—the power of Love.

Imagine what it would look like every Christian in America put loyalty to Jesus above all other things, even country and family.

In the spirit of eating with tax collectors and sinners, our residential zoning laws might do less separating us into rich neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods.
In the spirit of sharing with our neighbor, the poverty and hunger situation in our country might be different.
In the spirit of turning the other cheek, we probably might not even need a military.

You can the see how transformative and counter-cultural it is for us to pray week after week:
“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, ON EARTH as it is in Heaven.”
The Kingdom of God is not pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die-by-and-by.
The Kingdom of God is Jesus’ vision of how we live here and now!
Yes, we trust God’s promises of the resurrection of the dead and eternal life, but we also trust that God is transforming our world as we speak.
We fervently pray that God’s Kingdom come—on earth as it is in heaven. What a radical act it is to pray for the fruition of God’s reign!

Even though the United States fought a Revolutionary War to not have a king, we do have a king.
We have a Christ who is the King.
He is not king in a materialistic way or in a power-hungry way.
His garments are not ermine robes or sequined jumpsuits, but a purple cloak.
His crown is not of jewels, but of thorns.
He is not born with a silver spoon, but in a lowly manger.
Jesus is not a god of preemptive strikes, but of preemptive love.
When people say, “King,” we expect castles and moats and other regal things.
But we don’t get what we expect.
We get something better. We get King Jesus, meeting us at the cross.

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