Christ is the King of All Seasons
33 Pilate then went back inside
the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed
you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said,
“My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent
my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” 37 “You are a king,
then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I
was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on
the side of truth listens to me.”
Dear Friends in Christ Jesus
Today the Church celebrates Christ the King Sunday.
This last Sunday in our liturgical year provides us an opportunity to acknowledge
Christ as King of our lives, and to see our King in all his glory. Our first reading
today takes us into the book of Daniel. God’s people were facing terrible oppression
and suffering they thought would never end. Daniel’s vision shows the people that
God, the “Ancient One,” is still ruling, and that their suffering will come to an
end. God’s dominion is from everlasting to everlasting, and God’s kingdom will never
pass away. Daniel spoke a word of hope to God’s people, the word that God has not
and will not abandon God’s people. These words gave them strength to endure their
hardship and suffering.
This theme is echoed in today’s second reading. These words
serve as a summary theme to the Book of Revelation. "Grace & peace to you from the
one who is and who was and who is to come..." God’s reign spans the length of time.
From before time existed until time is no more, our God reigns. What powerful imagery!
These words bring hope that no matter what suffering we face, no matter how hopeless
our situation, God is still in control, watching over us and guiding our feet into
the way of peace. These words call us to face the future boldly, as we place our
trust and, indeed, our very lives into the hands of the one who controls past, present,
Our Gospel reading gives us a glimpse of our great King coming into his
glory. As the scene opens, Pilate is questioning Jesus, "Are you the King of the
Jews?" In his response, Jesus states, "My kingdom is not of this world." Throughout
Jesus’ ministry, we see examples of Jesus living differently than those around him.
He calls children blessed, bringing them near to him when others would shoo them
away. He appreciates a poor widow’s offering more than what the rich man offers.
He has compassion on lepers and other outcasts when his society ignores them. Jesus
showed us what God’s heart is about: caring for all people equally and striving against
the "everybody does it" of society. And, ultimately, Jesus’ highest moment of glory
on the earth comes when he is lifted up on the cross, freely offering his life for
us. Jesus’ kingdom is nothing like this world has ever seen.
The seasons of the church
year help us to refocus on what should be most important in our lives: who God is,
what God is about and our calling to be the people of God in the world. Each season
provides us with a different picture of Jesus. Each season shows us a different face
of Christ as the Ruler of all.
During the season of Advent, which starts next week,
we prepare for the coming of Christ. The scripture readings speak first of God coming
to earth in human form, and we prepare for the coming of the babe in the manger.
The readings also speak of Christ’s return at the end of time, in judgment and glory.
In light of these readings, we continually prepare to meet our Lord. We seek to live
our lives accordingly, doing nothing we wouldn’t want to be caught doing, or, rearranging
our priorities to reflect what God considers important. The Advent season is also
a time of preparation for Christmas, where we pray "let every heart prepare him room."
It is a time when we all look forward in hope: hope of a promise to be fulfilled,
hope of a future restored, hope for the life to come.
The Christmas season is a season
often ignored. Lasting either one to two weeks, it comes at a time when many of the
world are ready to be done with the Holiday. In the church’s Christmas season, we
remember why Jesus came as he did, as a human child. He came to redeem all of humanity
from its sinful ways and the punishment we earn. Many preachers say during the Christmas
season that there cannot be a manger without a cross, and there cannot be a cross
without a manger. The Christmas window in the Narthex has the cross (star) in it.
Jesus was born to die. Even as we gaze on the child in the manger, we must know
he came for a purpose: our salvation. We remember, too, during the Christmas season
that we have been named and claimed for a purpose: to be the beloved children of
God in this world of sin.
The season of Epiphany is marked by the magi following the
star to Bethlehem, in search of a leader, a savior, a king. The dominant image of
Epiphany is light. Even the word "epiphany" means "shining forth" and in this season,
we witness to the light of Christ shining into our darkness. This season focuses
on Jesus’ miracles and how God dwells among us. We realize that we do dwell in darkness,
that our habits and our nature drives us to darkness and evil. We cannot be left
to ourselves because we cling to that darkness. Christ shines in our world to cast
out all darkness and evil. Christ enables us to turn away from our sin and have hope,
in spite of the world around us. This season ends with Jesus on the mount, being
transformed before the eyes of his followers. Once again shrouded in light, Jesus
reveals his power and purpose in the world. Christ is the victor over sin, death
and the power of the devil; thus we look to the light of Christ in the world.
is a time that many people know. We all know stories of people denying themselves
during this season. It indeed is a time of study and change. During this time we
learn of Jesus’ journey to the cross on our behalf and the challenges he met along
the way. We also see how Jesus comes to meet us in our life and faith journey, as
he walks with us during our times of frustration and suffering. Lent is a time of
repentance, of "turning around," that we might recommit our lives to living out our
faith in Christ in a more real, practical way.
Holy Week concludes the Lenten season
with a series of special events. On Maundy Thursday we learn again about the institution
of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus instructed his disciples with a new commandment, "to
love one another as I have loved you" and to show this love in practical ways. Good
Friday is only good because we know what happened next. Good Friday gives Jesus’
followers a chance to walk with their Lord to the cross and to know what pain and
grief lay there. Good Friday reminds us that our salvation was bought with a price,
the precious blood of Jesus.
Easter is God’s great surprise: Jesus does not remain
in the tomb and neither will we. As the women were filled with amazement and great
joy at the news of Jesus’ resurrection, we too embrace the new possibilities of living
an Easter life. Through Easter we learn that God’s promises can be trusted; nothing
can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, therefore we are free to live
our lives for others and in service to our God. The 50 days of Easter give us time
to explore this great mystery of our faith. We take time to discover how God comes
to us in our daily lives, to bring us resurrection and renewal daily. Christ defeats
death and we are given the promise of salvation. We then ask our Lord, "How can I
share this good news with others?"
The longest season of our church year begins with
the Feast of Pentecost, celebrating the sending of the Holy Spirit. We travel to
Jerusalem and witness another promise come true: the tongues of fire resting on Jesus’
followers. We hear the disciples proclaiming the good news of Jesus in all the languages
of the world and we sense the crowd’s amazement at this miraculous event. The promises
of the Holy Spirit’s presence resound in our ears during this season as we strive
to see God’s working in our world today, in, through and around us.
During this season
of Pentecost we sit with the crowds at Jesus’ feet and hear his teachings. We learn
what it means to be a disciple, a follower of the risen Christ. In words and actions,
Jesus shows us what it means to trust God with our lives and what it means to love
our neighbors as ourselves.
Throughout the church year we see, time and time again,
how Christ rules in our lives. We are called to acknowledge the many gifts our Lord
gives us and we are empowered to put those gifts to service. Year after year we are
reminded of the depth of God’s love for us as we learn about Jesus’ life and mission.
Our church seasons help us to refocus on the source of our lives: God’s goodness
and gracious gifts to us in the Son of God and in the Spirit of God. We know our
God is faithful and steadfast. We are reminded throughout the church year that God’s
love never ends and that we are given the strength to prevail in the midst of life’s
challenges. We are given the courage to share the wondrous message of peace, hope
and life in Christ Jesus. We are sent out with a command and a promise: "Go therefore
and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded
you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Mt. 28:19-20)
all the seasons of our lives, God is with us, supporting and guiding us. That is
how Christ is the King - nothing and no one else can make that claim. And there is
a great comfort in knowing that each of these seasons is about Jesus the King. Christ
is King. Praise be to God. Amen.
THE PEACE OF GOD THAT PASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING WILL KEEP AND GUARD YOUR HEARTS IN
CHRIST JESUS. AMEN