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The Bulletin Insert Sunday 22nd November,2015 The Reign of God – Christ the King

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert       Sun 22nd Nov 2015

The Reign of God – Christ the King

 

As the church’s Liturgical Year comes to an end, we are reminded, one last time, of the focus of Christ’s life, which is also our calling – the Reign of God. It is tempting to view Christ’s Reign as a conquering, all-powerful, phenomenon that will violently destroy human power systems, but that would be to misunderstand it. Rather, what the Lectionary reveals is a Reign that is not of this world, that is a completely different reality, and that works within human systems, even as it subverts them toward justice, peace and love.

 

The celebration of Christ the King raises two issues for us as followers of Christ: 1. Divine authority:  Jesus cannot be followed while retaining our own agendas. As we follow Christ, we are called to embrace His agenda. In our striving for justice, equity and a better world, there remains the need to proclaim the eternal kingdom of God, and to call people, leaders and communities to faith and to submission to the authority and priorities of Christ (which is not the same thing as the Church). 2. The nature of God’s Reign: The glory of God is revealed not in conquest or power-over, but in sacrifice and service. God’s Reign is not “of this world” – it is a completely different reality that exists within, and subverts, the power systems of the world. Therefore, in our quest for justice, we must be careful not to get drawn into competitive power games in which only some can win, while others lose. Rather, we need to constantly hold ourselves faithful to the service and sacrifice of Christ, to the welcome and inclusivity of Christ, and to the love of Christ for all – even our enemies.

May our worship remind us of this eternal, “otherworldly” Reign of God and enable us to open our hearts to receive it right here and now where we live.

 

Adapted from: http://sacredise.com/lectionary/2015/10/reign-of-christ-christ-the-king/#more-547

2 Samuel 23:1-7

231Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David, son of Jesse, the oracle of the man whom God exalted, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the favourite of the Strong One of Israel: 2The spirit of the Lord speaks through me, his word is upon my tongue. 3The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me: One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, 4is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land. 5Is not my house like this with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. Will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?

6But the godless are all like thorns that are thrown away; for they cannot be picked up with the hand; 7to touch them one uses an iron bar or the shaft of a spear. And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot.

 

Revelation 1:4-8

4John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. 8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

 

John 18: 33-37

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters* again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 34Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 35Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ 37Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’