Tuesday, November 17, 2009

King of the Cross

The strongest Christian image is that no doubt that of Christ on the Cross. On this feast of Christ the King one of our key insights is that the crucified Jesus wears a crown, and has a sign on his cross...The King of the Jews

Readings this Sunday are for the feast of the Reign of Christ. sometimes known as Christ the King. The last Sunday of the church's year. John 18:33-37 for Sunday 22nd November 2009

For we Christians there is a certain irony about this notion of kingship
which we ascribe to Jesus.
First it is old-fashioned.
Although we here in Australia do have a monarch. That monarch has only symbolical power.
If she were to choose to try and exercise the power that she allegedly has
the whole political system would explode.
At its very best it reminds us that leadership is not about being the boss
it is about being a servant.
And although Queen Elizabeth II lives an opulent and privileged lifestyle
most of us realise with even a cursory glance
that she is also tyrannised by the idea of monarchy.
In the blatant exposure that the famous are subjected to
we see that being a ruler
has not protected the things she hold most precious,
no doubt her family
from all the woes and troubles of life.
Rather the reverse.
Second, if we turn to the bible and look at the notion of kingship presented there
we see that it was an experiment that was predicted to fail.
And which did!
Samuel, seemingly against his better judgment, is persuaded to anoint Saul king
but he predicts that this change of government will end in disaster.
Though it is not without its high points
Samuel's prophecy is proved tragically true.
The kingship is a cause of pain and heartbreak,
of injustice and sorrow
to the people who God calls to follow him.
So, it is not suprising that the idea of kingship
even though it be Jesus who is our king
is not one without problem.

Christ the King
Indeed the clearest picture we have of Jesus is not enthroned on a throne of glory
but on a cross of wood
above which Pontiius Pilate has placed a sign
INRI - "Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm."
Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews.


There is something profoundly confronting about what is being said here

which is easy to overlook or mistake

We can take the sort of 'high moral ground' lesson

Like the one I just made about her majesty the Queen.

Kingship -is -a -form - of -radical -servanthood

(and that is certainly true)

But more is being expected of us than just moralism.

Or we can take the line

that life invites us to die to ourselves

(and this too is true).

But are we also being invited to see that Jesus's way of living life

is about confronting death and not being cowed by it.

Another way of viewing the atonement.

Not that God demands some sort of appeasing sacrifice

so that He will get over his (quite rightly justified) anger.

But rather that the Cross is an act of freedom-making.

How easily we forget this.

We seem to always think that the cross invites us to be crucified again.

We don't hear (maybe don't want to hear) that the enthronement of Christ the King

has set us free so that we don't have to attempt to do the impossible.

We cannot die for our sins, or for anyone else's

and we don't need to.

Everything that need to be done has been done.

Have we thus spotted the characteristic of kingship that is displayed on the throne of Calvary.

The king dies to set his subjects free.

If we are called to live our lives in that spirit

then the question that we ask is not can I make up for the things that I have done wrong

but how can I set other people free?

Does what I do set myself and others free?

How easily we put demands on people which enslave them

Expectations on our families that tyrannise rather than set free

Conditions that we place on our relationships

that in effect say ...I will only love you if you do what I want of you.

This is not true kingship that sets free

It is dictatorship that enslaves.

This week

As we look at our lives:

Do I accept the freedom that Jesus has won for me? Freedom to know forgiveness. and freedom to forgive?

Are things that I can that set people---family, friends, associates---free rather than enslave? Can I give myself so that others might be free? What small thing can I do for someone this week that will give them greater freedom?

The servants of Christ the king, we, are not cruel masters; we are freedom fighters.

Embrace that freedom

1 comment:

Dallian said...

hey i just found your blog and this post i found very interesting. i've never thought of it quite like that. thanks for the post :)
i'll be back :p