Christ the King – Politics and Palliative Care

This morning we come to the end of the church year. Over the past twelve months we have celebrated God’s self-revelation in Advent and Christmas and Epiphany. We have recalled the suffering patience of Jesus in the season of Lent. We have walked through the darkness of Good Friday into the glory of Easter morning. We have faced the mystery and glory of Pentecost – the life of the Spirit given to create and equip the church. We have journeyed through ordinary time, listening to the stories of Jesus and God’s people.

And today we come to the last Sunday of the year, which the church celebrates under the banner of Christ the King.

We end the year with a statement of faith.

We end the year with a statement of hope.

We end the year with a statement of Christ’s glory.

We end the year with a decidedly political statement – Christ is King.

This declaration that Christ is King raises all kinds of important questions, of course, What kind of a king is he? What kind of kingdom is he bringing to our world? And the truth is that when we talk about that wandering rabbi, the language of kingship and sovereignty might not be the first thing to come to mind. In many cases kings have been absolute sovereigns – they have exercised power at will – they have commanded vast armies – they have gone to war without just cause – they have been wealthy tyrants – they have only too rarely served their people with integrity and grace. Continue reading

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becoming poor (4/4)

The people of Israel wanted a king.

To have a king was a sign of power.

To have a king was a sign that you had arrived as a nation.

To have a king meant that you were a people to be reckoned with.

The prophet Samuel warned the people – you don’t want a king. A king will take the best of your vineyards and fields and orchards through taxation. A king will take your daughters as his perfumers and bakers and cooks. A king will make your sons his soldiers and horsemen and commanders.  Let me warn you – you will rue the day that you asked for a king. Continue reading

Christ the King

My sermon from this past Sunday.

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 Today, as is indicated on our bulletin cover, is Christ the King Sunday. 

Next week we will begin a new church year as we move into the season of Advent. And today we close out the old church year, doing so by celebrating the kingship of Jesus Christ. Our human lives are lived in a rhythm of years – year passes into year. And through the rhythm of our years the truth gospel gives shape to our lives. This morning, the gospel reminds us that Christ is king – the gospel reminds us that in the passage of our days and years there is no moment that is not lived under his lordship, his kingship.

In Canadian society today, of course, the idea of kingship, of royalty, is pretty distant from the thought and life of most people. I recall that just a few months ago there was a debate whether the Governor General, Michaelle Jean should be referring to herself as Canada’s head of state. The Prime Minister’s office intervened, suggesting that Queen Elizabeth is in fact the head of state and that the Governor General is simply her representative in Canada. Most Canadians, of course, heard nothing of this debate, and the vast majority of who did hear about it likely offered yawn of indifference. Whether or not the monarchy is important to our history and society, monarchy provokes a yawn of indifference. Continue reading