Thought for the week - 21 November
To Infinity and beyonnnd! Thus shouts Buzz Lightyear, a toy, a comic superhero spaceman character much beloved of my grandson. Beyond infinity!?? That sounds a very long way! Is there anything beyond infinity? How big is the universe? Scientific opinions vary, but our known (is it known??) universe is 93 billion light years across. Meaningless isn’t it. But Christians believe that God made the universe and all that is in it. Today we celebrate the last Sunday of the Christian year, the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe – usually abbreviated to Christ the King. So, what does this mean?
That great oracle of truth ‘Wikipedia’ tells us “According to Cyril of Alexandria, "Christ has dominion over all creatures, ...by essence and by nature." His kingship is founded upon the hypostatic union. "[T]he Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created."
"From this it follows that to Christ angels and men are subject. Christ is also King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer. ...' We are no longer our own property, for Christ has purchased us "with a great price"; our very bodies are the "members of Christ." A third ground of sovereignty is that God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion. "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me." (Matthew 28:18)
The Feast of Christ the King has an eschatological dimension pointing to the end of time when the kingdom of Jesus will be established in all its fullness to the ends of the earth. It leads into Advent when the Church anticipates Christ’s second coming.”
Well, that’s all clear then! All we really need to understand is that Jesus is King of everything that exists. But what does that mean for you and me? It might have no more meaning than “To infinity and beyond” if it does not mean something specific and personal to each one of us. To celebrate and proclaim Christ as our king begs several questions of each one of us.
What do we believe of Jesus? Do we really believe that Jesus is in ultimate charge?
On a personal level, do we treat Jesus as though we accept him as our king? Do we trust him? Do we allow ourselves to trust him universally – that is to trust him with every aspect of our life?
In St Mark ‘s gospel we read of Jesus repeatedly saying how precious it is to seek and glimpse the Kingdom of God.
In St Luke’s Gospel we are given the picture of the banquet, where are all are invited, to sit and eat together, in the host’s presence. The host is God himself and whenever we come together to share the Eucharist, we are sitting together, with all our differences, celebrating that human solidarity.
In St Matthew do we get clear guidance on how to be. Not what to do, but as I say how to be; to have one foot in God’s kingdom.
In the famous beatitudes in the sermon on the Mount, we get something totally at odds with the coldness and self- centredness of Pilate. We get the lived truth which Christ represented.
To be able to grieve and to have a forgiving and a humble heart.
To show mercy and forgiveness.
To be hungry for the right way to live.
To make and build peace.
To be willing to put your head above the parapet for the sake of others and your convictions.
Hatred and totalitarianism; self, family, or nation always first whatever the cost to others - None of these have any room in the Kingdom of God, for which we pray every time we say the Lord’s Prayer. Or in our celebration today.
It is not infinity or beyond – but it is hard and demanding. We do not need a Buzz Lightyear no matter how much we would like one. No, we have a leader, a king who is willing to put aside his superpowers, become weak as we are and become the servant of all.
Will you acclaim him as your king?