Friday, November 14, 2014
Towards Christ the King
The next two weeks I am going to be building off the theme of Christ the King, which is to be recognized on November 23rd.
Christ the King Sunday is the end of the Christian Year and November 30th begins Advent which also signals the beginning of a new Christian Year.
But Christ the King Sunday is one that can slip below the radar if we aren't paying attention. That has to do with the fact that it is overwhelmed by the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. It is nonetheless an important day in the life of the church.
That has to do mostly with the phrase "Christ the King." Christ the King Sunday sets up the dual nature of Advent: we look towards the celebration of his birth, but also to the celebration of his second advent.
But there is something else to it, besides celebration. Christ the King. Can you hear the subversion? Can you sense the defiance and the difference those words make? Maybe, maybe not. But in the context of the culture in which the Gospels were written, you might very well be able to hear it.
In Roman writings, we find that the Emperor is referred to as the savior, the bringer of peace. The Emperor was called ‘Lord’; The Emperor was called “The Son of God.” Caesar is Lord. In fact, there is an inscription that was written about Caesar that began with these words: “The beginning of the good news to the world on his account.” This is an inscription written about Caesar. Caesar the king, the Lord, the Son of the gods (which is how Caesar was often viewed in the Roman Empire).
But here comes the subversive part. The oldest Gospel, the Gospel of Mark, begins with the words, “The beginning of the good news of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.” The early Christians were saying and writing, “Jesus is Lord.” Not Caesar. Are you beginning to see the trouble the church was making? Can you hear the subversive message? Caesar is Lord. No. Jesus is Lord.
As such, when we talk about the judgment of the king, or the Day of the Lord (sometimes called judgment day) we are talking about the judgment of both God and Christ the King.
I would propose the idea that we cannot understand the judgment of the King until we begin to understand what the demands of the King are, and who we are supposed to be in the Kingdom of God. Only when we begin to understand the Kingdom can we work to be citizens, and then we more clearly understand the judgment of the King.
So for the next two weeks, I want to offer some observations on what it means to talk of the judgment of the King - Christ the King. Because when we speak of the King, we move directly into Advent which once again sets the stage for Christians to talk of whom it is we encounter in the person of Jesus.
Come and join us.
Grace and Peace,