Recently we had an event here in Canada that for many people was in fact a non-event – the royal visit of Prince Charles and Camilla. In the past, royal tours were meant to deepen the ties between people and the crown. The latest royal tour had many wondering,“Why bother”?
Today we celebrate a feast that certainly is an event that is meant to give a tone and an attitude to the way we live our lives as followers of Christ; we call it the Feast of Christ the King.
In the gospel of John we see two different examples of kingship: Pilate representing the power Emperor of Rome who conquered most of the then known world by force of arms and Jesus who captured the hearts of so many people by what He said and did. One was of this world, the other not of this world, one used power to control the lives of others, the other used truth to lead others to life and love.
Jesus is indeed a king but a king who in no way fits the image most of us have of kings, especially if we get our image from the TV series The Tudors where we see the treachery and brutality of a man who would have all things his way.
I think the best way we can capture the meaning and depth of this feast is by reflecting on the preface used for today’s feast. This prayer describes Christ’s kingdom as a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace a kingdom of justice, love and peace. Every day we pray, ‘thy kingdom come’. Such a kingdom will be realized on earth neither by the wave of a magic wand, nor by any brute force but by the way we live our lives as Christians and by the way we interact with others.
Remember the saying “I have no hands but yours, no feet but yours, no eyes but yours, no ears but yours”? We are the ones who are to bring about Christ’s kingdom of truth and life, holiness and grace, justice, love and peace. Stretching the image a bit we are on a royal tour all our lives trying to make real these fundamentals of Christ’s kingdom in our own personal lives and in the communities in which live and work.
Every time we combat racism or bigotry in ourselves or in others, every time we do what we can to help feed the hungry, help the homeless, recognize the plight of the working poor then we are bringing about Christ’s kingdom of justice, love and peace. Every time we respect the dignity of ourselves and the dignity of others, every time we try to bring peace and harmony into our families and try to heal old hurts and wounds we do our bit to bring about Christ’s kingdom of love and peace
Every time we try to see the bigger picture and see ourselves as members of the total life community of Earth and decide to live life styles of simplicity, stepping back from consumerism we are doing our bit to bring about Christ’s kingdom of truth and life. Every time we come to appreciate the beauty and the woundedness of God’s good creation we bring about Christ’s kingdom of holiness and grace.
When we look into our own wounded lives, when we consider the violence and injustice that afflicts the lives of people around the world we can’t help but wonder if Christ’s kingdom will ever be realized. Remember the song “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me”? The same is true of Christ’s kingdom, it has to begin with me, and it has to begin with you. It may seem impossible, unrealistic but we can only do our best to be people of truth and life, people of holiness and grace people of justice, love and peace.