Sunday, October 26, 2008

Feast of Christ the King 26.10.08 Sermon

Feast of Christ the King 26.10.08

This feast was instituted in 1925 in a time of great trouble, to remind the world that they have one ultimate authority, Jesus Christ, Lord and King.

If He were given proper recognition there would be no more wars or revolutions, but peace and concord all round.

People often express a longing for unity among the whole human race. What better way than to begin with one Lord for all? In all the racial and cultural diversity there is one Lord and God who oversees it all, from whom and to whom all things come and return.

So today is a day for large vision, for rising above petty differences as all the peoples of the earth are invited to look upwards to the King they have in common.

Sadly many people do not accept Him as King, reducing Him to little or no importance in their scale of values.

He is not valued as He should be. This is partly the same problem as when He came to the earth 2000 years ago. Because He was humble people thought He could be dismissed.

Because He was crucified, they thought He was of no account.

They did not understand then, and still do not, that His humility and self-sacrifice is what demonstrates His greatness.

Anyone can be arrogant and overbearing and many earthly rulers have been, but there are not so many who will give their lives for their people, let alone allow themselves to be taken for a criminal or a slave.

‘When I am lifted up I will draw all men to Myself’, says Our Lord in John’s Gospel. The Cross becomes a kind of throne on which He mounts, to show His royal dignity and to unite all people with Himself.

It does not look dignified at first but we come to understand what He has done; and then we are drawn to Him. Drawn to imitate His love, something we appreciate even if we cannot do it. But He will enable us to love like He did. This is why He feeds us with His body and blood. He is transfusing His life into us.

If we all imitated His humility and self-giving then this is how we have unity among the peoples of the world. We learn to live in harmony, not by ignoring religion as some would suggest, but by actually being religious, imitating the perfect Man who has renewed our human nature.
We learn to behave like Him. And we learn to love Him. This is the next stage. He wants not just our obedience but our love.

How do we express that love? For one thing by acting out His commands. But He wants more than that. He wants us to adore Him, to commune with Him.

So we come to worship Him, to express His worth, which is infinite.

We do not normally worship kings because they are not ‘worth’ it (worth-ship)! But this King is worth it.

The acts of adoration we make go some way to expressing His worth, never quite getting there, but some way.

We may not ‘feel’ adoration. Liturgically, our bodies are adoring Him with such gestures as kneeling, genuflecting, bowing; we have to bring our minds and hearts along as well.

If He is the King of the whole world it is about time the world knew it. At least we know it, and can intensify our response to Him.

If we can obey Him, imitate His example, then that is a great start. If we can love Him, adore Him, be one with Him, better still. We would all do this if we only knew Him better.

Let us come to know Him for ourselves, and do everything we can to make Him known to the world.

Behold your king, said Pilate sarcastically. We say it without sarcasm. Even while - and especially when - covered in blood, He is our King. Come, let us worship.