Some king! Poor, dishonoured, naked, mocked, Jesus dies while villains howl with glee. What kind of king is this, defenceless and alone? The criminal next to him lays down the challenge. If you ARE a king, save yourself! Save us! And Jesus, authorised to save the whole world, reaches out to rescue one last soul, the humble fellow who admits his sin.
That’s the kind of king Jesus is: one who champions the sinner who genuinely turns to him. Jesus never shows much interest in building a kingdom of righteousness, or shepherding strong and pious souls into his reign. Jesus spends his final hour on the lookout for small sad people who make mistakes and know who they are – and who he is.
This is how Christ chooses to spend his time to the end of time, as we understand it: building a kingdom of contrite hearts. If we don’t allow ourselves to be built into that kingdom, we’ll certainly be joined into another.
What goes into the assemblage of a contrite heart?
Honour Christ the King by honouring the least of his people, the poor and the powerless. Lift up the lowly with your voice, your friendship, your concern.
For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels – everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.
The Scripture (Luke 23: 39 – 43) Jesus is Crucified
One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed Jesus: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!” But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as this man. We deserve this, but not him– he did nothing to deserve this”. Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom”. Jesus said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will be with me in paradise”.
In most science fiction films there is often a scene when the earth or a spaceship is hurtling towards disaster. No human could possibly save it. Obviously they try everything they can but they just get more exhausted. Some lose hope altogether. Then a mysterious being enters the story, someone or something from beyond our world. He or she has powers beyond our wildest dreams and can change destruction and disaster into peace, calm and order. The world is restored: the being is thanked and then gone from sight. This is a salvation story and, although fiction, understands something of our need for salvation. It knows we have no power ourselves to help ourselves. It tells of the love from a being far greater and more powerful than we are and of our salvation. There is such a story in the Gospels and it is not fiction. It is the greatest love story and rescue story of all time and yet we do not always make it our own.
We want the rule of Christ to prevail:
Beauty where there is drabness, dancing where there is inaction, music where there is talk, compassion in the place of indifference, community in the place of self-interest, peace where conflict rages, freedom where there is restriction, self-confidence where there is vulnerability, and hope where there is despair.
You will work to bring the rule of Christ closer.
You will expose those who have no time for Christ’s rule.
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