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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: What is the Truth About Our King?

Lessons for the coming Sunday can be found here.

The Church year ends this Sunday, for many of us, with the declaration that Christ is our King; Lord of All. We may sing "Crown Him With Many Crowns" or "Praise To the Lord, the Almighty"  or other "royal" hymns. We think of the symbols and pageantry associated with earthly rulers, and may appropriate them in our own paraments and ritual.

But what does our King really look like?

Our texts juxtapose the terrifying theophany of Daniel and the equally frightening image of Christ at the Last Judgment with a scene that's quite different -- an itinerent country preacher, now a tortured prisoner, standing broken and bleeding before a representative of the greatest empire on earth.

"What is truth?" asks Pilate.

What are some truths that speak to us as we read these texts with an eye to Sunday? What is true about human exercise of power? What is true about the Kingship of Christ? What happens when, as in Psalm 93, worldly power assumes for itself the mantle of divine approval -- when, as someone once put it in regard to the United States, it comes wrapped in a flag and carrying a Bible? And how do we keep the day from turning into a "Yay, Jesus!" pep rally that misses the irony and profundity inherent in the texts?

Great stuff to think about.  Please share your thoughts here.

You may, of course, be preaching on something else entirely. Let us know about that.


  1. This Sunday always reminds of the David Crowder band song "Here is our King."

    You might like this video which uses various artists' depictions of the infant through crucified/risen Jesus.

  2. Great video for our church blog...thanks!;-)

  3. Great video Deb. Thanks.

    My own congregation doesn't tend to make a big deal about Reign of Christ Sunday (it's a bit too "high Christology" for so many of them). However, this Sunday I'm preaching at another church, so I get to preach Reign of Christ for the first time in years!!

    I'm not at all sure where I'm going with it yet, but I do know that I'm looking forward to it.

  4. Re-reading my early thoughts it appears I want us to all become more subversive.

  5. Good point Gord. Jesus was all about challenging political and cultural norms and turning expected behaviours upside down. If we're not doing the same, then are we really part of Jesus' "reign" or are we just safely towing the party line (whatever that may be)? At what point are we willing to go out on a limb and actually live the gospel?

    (And by "we" I don't mean us clergy and devoted lay leaders, I mean the spectator Christians who want to be entertained with nice music and maybe a good sermon every week, and then get back to their life as usual. I know that sounds cynical - it's based on some recent personal baggage that's getting heavier by the day - and I won't preach it.)

  6. Yesterday was my first day back from vacation, so today is my first day looking at the texts. I've been dying to "repurpose" something for a few weeks, but have been foiled every time. Hmpf.

    I'm up for writing a new one this week. I thought for sure I had done a Christ the King or two, but nothing is jumping to mind. I'm really not lazy. I promise. I've got what I think are going to be GREAT plans for Advent!

    Anyway, I'm drawn to Daniel for some reason and Revelation, but reading both of those might be a bit much. Both will require LOTS of back story retelling and context explaining, so using them together will be difficult. Reading both and using one might be an option.

    However, I LOVED what you said LutheranChik about the juxtaposition of kingly types in Daniel and John. That really speaks to me and is a great lead in to my Advent theme that will focus on "What do you want for Christmas?" - each week naming something we want, but showing what God gives instead (instant gratification and quick fixes vs. hope for the future, for example). Anyway, the Daniel/John mix could work in a similar way.

    Hmmmmm...more thinking to do, but thanks for the start!

  7. Sherev - I bet I can guess why you have so much good energy for Advent this year ((winks)).

    So, we are not on lectionary this week, but doing the Joel Thanksgiving text, and a You ARe the LIght On The Hill as the culmination ( at last) of our stewardship campaign. The gist of sermon being - We show our thanks to God by using/sharing our gifts and it disrespects God when when we dont share our gifts. The kids are going to sing, too.

  8. Since I no longer serve as a senior pastor, I just blog my thoughts. My Pastor also enjoys what I have to say and will often use what I write. Anyway, here is the link to my thoughts for this Sunday. I use the Revelations passage.


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