In the name of the Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit, Amen
Today is Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday of Pentecost before we start a new year and the season of anticipation.
King… Jesus Christ, King above all Kings, Lord of Lords, that is very that exciting.
I can remember times If I looked around, I found many Kings in my life; earthly Kings that could show me tangible results and provide things I can see and grab on to.
Is anybody into sports? Who is your favorite team? Is it a basketball team, football team, in Minnesota maybe hockey? Do you absolutely love to see a great play? Do you get excited and shout when you see a great touchdown? Do you like sitting down in front of the TV for the big game? The Rose Bowl? The World Series? , the greatest game ever –the Army Navy Game, Go Navy beat Army! Do you bask in the Joy and glory with your team’s victory?
These things make us feel good. These people may be heroes to you, Dating myself now, but Bud Grant, the Coach of the real Vikings, could have commanded me to do just about anything. He was the King of my purple people eaters, and as a young child watching the Vikings with my best friend (my Dad) made me feel good, I wanted to follow them; heck I wanted to be one of them.
“Kings” or people we choose to celebrate, dare I say worship, show up in sports figures, , clothing designers, celebrities, musical artists or maybe even politicians.
We get excited about how they make us feel; So, here is my real question: Do you get excited about God in the same way? Do you proclaim and celebrate God with the same energy and excitement you do for your favorite football player, celebrity or politician,?
Psalm 98:4-6, “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre; with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn, shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.”…..Now that sounds like a Vikings Game!
For most, it’s pretty hard to openly praise God with joyful noise and much easier offer praise when the Vikings win the NFC championship. “Touch down, way to go God …. SKOl GOD!!!! That really didn’t sound right.
Do you have the same excitement and hope for what God can do in your life, as you do when your candidate of choice wins an election?
If not, why is that? Could it be that we think we know the Vikings or that politician better than we know God? Are there times you believe God is amazing…but so far away that God is unknowable?
I hope not… because we can know God and we can see God working in our world and in our lives. Like most of you, I’ve faced trials and my faith has been tested.
Two trials that brought me to my knees were my involvement as a responder during 911 in New York and two months later…the death of my father.
The uncontrollable chaos of that violent event in September and then the loss of my closest family member rocked me to my core, and seemed to shatter the life-long relationship I thought I had with God.
It threw me into a place of disbelief in God’s ability to lead. God didn’t seem to do anything; How can I get behind an absentee leader?
I had so much pain and struggle accepting these events. I didn’t feel or see Christ in any of it. I was angry, miserable and alone.
Being a security professional, I served the wealthy, the famous, the powerful and perhaps by many standards the noble. [In that dark time?] These were the kings I followed., chiefly because of what their power and influence could do for me. My energy and admiration went to serving this royalty. They compensated me well, they promoted me in to positions of my own authority, they were instrumental in building a career for me.
But in 2002 that started to change. On December 15th 2002, my wife and I were blessed with a gift , the birth of my son. My son’s face looking at me, small, helpless, looking up at me with unconditional love. If ever I looked into the face of God, it was in that moment.
I started paying closer attention to what and who I was serving. Most importantly the “kings that I am serving, are they best thing for my wife and now my son?
Look at the Office of the President. At any given time, he has hundreds of secret service agents, vehicles, equipment, an above average plane, and entire police departments at
his disposal for his protection. After all he is important, he is leading our Country, so it is well deserved, right? The President was elected because he promised to fix the things that some thought were wrong in their lives. He has many loyal subjects, very King-like, right? But in the power that he was given, because of what he promised me, are the same promises for all? Or is the hope and joy for some a s barrier or oppression for others?
So, what about Jesus and his promises to us? What signs of royalty do we see in his life?
Jesus was poor, a carpenters’ son, he was born in an animal stable. Not a noble birth by ordinary standards.
He only had one crown, and that one hurt, one purple robe that was given as a cruel joke, and his earthy throne was a rugged cross… where he was tortured and killed as a criminal.
By today’s symbols of royalty, I fear that he would rank as a tremendous failure. The good news is, he was not an earthly King.
The Kingdom of Jesus is not of this world, so don’t look for him to behave like an earthly King. We have enough of those. In his humiliation, his suffering and his utter loss of dignity at the hand of his executioners, his power and nobility were revealed. In his powerlessness on the cross, his power and nobility was revealed. The nobility and power of one whose entire life bears witness to the greatest truth imaginable …God is love!
Peace, justice, mercy and love….. This is his standard and what I want for my (family)…. this hallmark of royalty and true foundation of a noble reign.
Jesus didn’t seek the trappings of earthly kingship and power, . I celebrate Jesus as my King because he’s the King of truth, of justice, mercy, acceptance, passion, and love.
A divine standard by which I measure all earthly Kings and how I believe ALL should be measured. All Jesus wants, really wants is for us to live by his example…be his hands, be his feet…believe in him! In doing so, you will know God.
In few minutes, we will gather around little baby Sloane where she will be sealed in the waters of baptism; where she will be marked as Christ’s own and welcomed into God’s family , the family of faith we call the Church. .
In that baptism we are given God’s own life to share and are reminded that nothing can separate us from God’s love. We will join the family and in the baptismal covenant, and we will renew our earthly commitment to bring God’s kingdom to this world: the kingdom Jesus lived, preached and prayed for, the kingdom of justice, mercy, acceptance, compassion and unconditional love.