A Homily for
November 23, 2014
from MATTHEW 25:31-46
Revised from a Homily
November 20, 2011,
This morning we celebrate Christ the King Sunday, and the Gospel Lectionary Reading for today reflects this important emphasis.
We have little trouble getting our heads around the idea that Jesus is the LORD of the church (Colossians 1:18), after all he is her founder (Hebrews 12:2) and her foundation (1Corinthians 3:11), but we struggle with the idea that the risen Christ is the King of the world (Matthew 28:18 & Acts 1:9).
Or, said differently, as a traditional believer in the Christ we can quite easily espouse the affirmation that Jesus is King of our hearts, but it is more difficult for us to affirm with conviction that Jesus is LORD and King of the universe. This is true, first, because we understand that people hold differing views of the world and therefore such a statement is steeply politically incorrect, and second, we see a world dominated by monstrous evil and we are reluctant to see Christ’s Kingship involving such gruesome brutality.
Still, it is difficult to come to any other conclusion than this: the primary confession of the New Testament is the simple statement that Jesus is LORD, LORD not just of the church and of our hearts, but LORD of the world (Philippians 2:5-11) — listen to Jesus’ own words:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him."
I submit that it is difficult to come to any other conclusion than this is the King at work in the world.
But, one might well ask how the Son of Man becomes the King of the world. Is this Kingship won through violence and the brutality of empire, and all the usual worldly accoutrements of power? To which we answer a resounding,"NO!"
Instead, this King establishes this present and future Kingdom through sacrifice, through reconciliation, through the overthrow of the powers of darkness that always menace behind the imperium of empire.
But, of course, the Kingship of the Christ, although in some ways both affirmed and experienced by the church, has not as yet been fully felt in the world. There is a now-not-yet quality to this Kingship that continues to trouble and challenges us.
Flowing from the now-not-yet Kingship of Christ, then, I want us to think-through three affirmations that will help us unpack Christ's Kingship in the present:
WE LIVE UNDER THE KINGSHIP OF JESUS, NOW
WE LIVE WITH THE RIPPLES OF OUR ACTIONS, NOW
WE LIVE IN THE LIGHT OF FINAL JUSTICE, NOW