Feast of Christ the King - 24 November 2013
First reading: 2 Samuel 5.1-3
Second reading: Colossians 1.12-20
Gospel: Luke 23.35-43
For a long time now, the Feast of Christ the King has bothered me. I wasn’t sure why. Then one year, I think it was part of the 2000 Jubilee celebrations, the Feast of Christ the King was celebrated by whole the diocese at the Italian Centre near the PNE. The homilist was extolling how the kingship of Christ was so different from earthly kings. The words of the homily spoke of seeking heavenly riches instead of earthly riches. These words were almost comical as the sunlight beamed on the sparkling jewels of the Eparchial Bishop’s mitre.
The theme of Jubilee is to release people from bondage and to let the Earth rest. If we contrast West Georgia Street between Granville and Denman and East Georgia Street between Columbia and Commercial Drive, we see a micro picture of our nations and our Churches. The burdens of the people and of the land are heavier than ever before in history. When I think of the social, economic, political and religious hierarchies of today, the “Christ the King” metaphor just doesn’t fit, my Jesus.
For example, the first reading tells us about the beginning of David’s kingship. We know from the stories how David misused his power, even arranging the death of one of his loyal soldiers so that he could take his wife.
The second reading tells us that Christ is the firstborn of all creation; that everything was created through and for him. It is telling us, just as Jesus did, that Jesus is the way to wholeness. We reach wholeness through the practice of love and justice. Although wholeness may call us to die in some ways; it is a death to self that brings new life.
We know that Jesus died because he was saying, doing, and living what is just. He was a threat to the political and religious status quo. The second thief actually emulated what Jesus taught when he spoke up in defence of Jesus. I think it was this thief’s love of neighbour and sense of justice that led Jesus to say, ‘today you will be with me in Paradise.’ Salvation is gained in loving God by loving our neighbour.
So to me Jesus as “Christ the King,” just doesn’t fit. Jesus is the Holy One who became one of us, died to bring love of justice into the world and then, in the ultimate act of rule-breaking, rose from the dead. I think “Christ the Anarchist” is a more apt metaphor.
What are your thoughts on the metaphor of “Christ the King.”