Sunday 21 November 2021: The Reign of Christ/Christ the King
The Lord of Justice and Truth
Daniel 7:9-10,13-14; Revelation 1:4b-8; Mark 13:1-8, 24-32
Context: a city church with a local congregation and many people from India, Africa, the Philippines, and Poland
Aim: to lead the people to see the Lord Jesus as the One in Charge. We have given our allegiance to him. He will come again at the end of time. By the way we live and treat each other, we declare that we are his followers
THE FAITHFUL WITNESS IN A DECEITFUL TIME
This title of Jesus, ‘Christ the King’, is a modern addition to the liturgical calendar since 1925. It was instituted during the rise of Fascism, Nazism and Communism, ideologies which used force and lies to exalt the party and the state. In Hong Kong today savage and repressive laws enable the Beijing government to steamroller any opposition. The second beast of the Apocalypse is the deification of the state in any age.
By contrast, the power and Lordship of Jesus is founded on justice and truth. The Lord call us take his yoke on our shoulders and to be his willing followers. If we place ourselves under his lordship, we will not be led astray by false ideology.
The reading from Daniel tells us that peoples and nations put themselves under the eternal sovereignty of the ‘one like a son of man,’ His rule will not pass away. The Book of Revelation reminds us that Jesus Christ is ‘the faithful witness. The First born from the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth.’ He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He has washed away our sins with his blood and he has called us to serve his Father.
Saint John gives us the trial of Jesus before the Roman Procurator. John makes you wonder who is actually in the dock. Jesus tells Pilate, ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ If it had been, his men would have used force to prevent him being arrested. Magisterially, Jesus tells Pilate ‘Yes, I am a king. I was born for this: I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.’
Leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have shown that they have no time for truth. Truth means what they want it to mean at any given time. ‘Fake News’ (or that slur attached to true statements) is wilful disinformation. An older word for this is lies. Another name for Satan is ‘the deceiver’.
STRUGGLING FOR INTEGRITY AND HONESTY
We Christians are pledged to put ourselves under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Truth will have to be one of our foundational values. We are called to follow Christ the King and practise self-control in all we do and think and say. Men and women in the service of this king will undertake a life-long struggle for integrity and honesty. We know his grace will support us in our weakness. Baptism brings us into his kingdom, and we have all experienced his enabling power.
The followers of this king will not speak badly of those with whom they disagree. They will not believe malicious gossip. They will always try to understand another point of view. They will put their own position calmy, without sarcasm or resentment. They will treat their opponents with courtesy. They will avoid underhand behaviour because that would not bear witness to the truth. This king’s subjects should be quick to apologise and to ask for forgiveness, when we make mistakes.
LOOKING FORWARD WITH HOPE
Jesus tells us, ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ These are difficult words to apply to our world. We think we will go on for ever and nothing will change. We delude ourselves. Our little lives have no abiding city here. Through Jesus, we are citizens of another realm. We will contribute all the good things we have, to the world we love here. However. we will always remember that one day our lives will be ‘changed, not ended.’ We will leave our beloved earth. With the help of God’s grace we will hear the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.’
Next Sunday we begin the season of Advent. It is therefore fitting to remember that Christ will come again. It is he who is coming on the clouds, and everyone will see him, even those who pierced him. And all the races of the earth will mourn over him. This is the truth. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, who was and who is to come. The Almighty.’
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