What I’m Thinking: Monarch of Mercy

What is the Gospel reading for Reign of Christ Sunday on the Church calendar? It’s the crucifixion of Jesus: power made perfect in weakness.

Here’s a transcript:

This coming Sunday is called Reign of Christ Sunday on the Church calendar. The Gospel text is not what you might expect, at least at this time of the year with Advent almost at hand. Instead of coming from the beginning of Jesus’ life, it comes from, well, quite literally the end of Jesus’ life.

In the 23rd chapter of Luke (Luke 23:33-43) we hear the story of Jesus’ crucifixion.

The particular passage for this Sunday describes how people taunted Jesus as he was being crucified, calling him, “the King of the Jews.” It describes the charge above his head, reading, “This is the King of the Jews.” And particularly, it tells about one of the others crucified with him, who asked to be included when Jesus came into his realm.

There are lots of notions of what it is to be a ruler, to be a savior. In first century Israel, there was a lot of notion that a Messiah, an Anointed One, would come with power and majesty and military might, chase away the Romans and those who had collaborated with them, and restore a kingdom, a realm, similar to that of David and Solomon some ten centuries before.

Instead, Jesus’ Messiahship led to a cross, to execution by torture at the hands of those he was supposed to have chased away.

This is one of the fundamental scandals of Christianity: Power made perfect in weakness, majesty given over to mercy.

Not so very long ago, I knew somebody in whose presence every heart was lightened, whose spirit somehow communicated so powerfully to the rest of us that just being with her made the day a little brighter. And it has made me wonder why we give any credence at all to those whose power and wealth and braggadocio… why do we ever give them our loyalty? Our allegiance? Why do we ever give them the time of day?

When not a single one of them makes our spirits lighter, when not a single one of them makes the day a little brighter.

Jesus, on the cross, was able to do that for at least this one other sufferer. Jesus, on the cross, shows us what true power is.

Jesus, on the cross, shows us what it is to be a monarch of mercy.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on November 17, 2019

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