The Reign of Christ in the face of horror

Listen to it here

Gate Pa – Reign of Christ Sunday 2015

Readings:
Psalm                          Psalm 132:1-12, 13-18           
First Reading:                         2 Samuel 23:1-7
Second Reading:                    Revelations 1:4b-8
Gospel:                                    John 18:33-37
                                                           
What I want to say:
What does the idea of the reign of Christ have to say to the events in Europe and the Middle East over the last few weeks/moths/years. Where might be the reign of Christ in all this?
What I want to happen:
People to be signs of the reign of Christ in Tauranga Moana and in the world

The Sermon

     1.     Introduction:

Feast of Christ the King – or reign of Christ dates only from 1925 encyclical letter by Roman Catholic  Pope Pius XI
thought in main part to be in response to growing nationalism and secularism[2]
world increasingly fractured by national borders and interests
            world where loyalty to nation state was first
            and being Christian was seen in that light
or to put it another way
to remind us that our first loyalty is to Christ and not Caesar
It was a Sunday set to remind us all that our identity if found first and foremost in Jesus the Christ
·        not ethnicity
·        not culture
·        not nation
·        not even our denomination
not to all those things that have become Caesar today
as we look around world and learn own history
      incredibly hard to do
and that this should shape how we see the world
and how we act and respond to events around us.
Current date of last Sunday before advent dates from 1970

     2.     Images

Readings set down by offer number images of reign Christ – Kingdom of Christ
want to look at two today
first is that found in David’s last words in 2 Samuel
“One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God,
is like the light of morning,
like the sun rising on a cloudless morning,
gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.”   (2 Samuel 23:3-4)
At this point – this is not a very accurate description what happening David’s family
or kingdom of Israel
mess
all kinds intrigue and in fighting among various factions
including Bathsheba and Solomon
trying claim throne for themselves as David lay dying
they needed reign Christ Sunday as much as we do.


     3.     Mess of today

today is just as big a mess
wonderful words
offer such serene and peaceful image
seem so far off
Wars in Syria and Iraq continue
bombings and attacks in Beirut and Paris last week
            second sent shock waves around world
the second event used as excuse by some to repeat their refrains of hate and prejudice
            inciting hate of Muslims
            closing borders to Syrian refugees-
            increase in bombings so that more will die
We are far from being where the sun rising on a cloudless morning,
gleaming from the rain on the grassy land

     4.     Reign of Christ and the Gospels

What then are we to say about the reign of Christ in the face of all this?
To truly catch a glimpse what reign of Christ is about
            suggest we need to look to the gospels
today lectionary writers offered us interesting piece from John
from Jesus trial before Pilate
this is just between Pilate and Jesus
in this world Pilate was the one who would ask the questions
as prinsoner
as peasant from galilee
Jesus only rightful role is to give answers….
which he was never good at
instead he asks questions of Pilate
exasperate Pilate asks (according to John) - “What have you done?”
             - here quilt is assumed
            the only question is what punishment will fit the crime
But Jesus ignores Pilates questions and states,
“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.”
                which is another way of saying that his kingdom was not
                        is not about the same things Pilate, Caesar, Herod and the high Priests were about
                                    land
power
                        wealth
which can also be understood to mean –
            we are not threat
            leave my followers alone.
What is Pilate to do with that. He asks, “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.”

     5.     Not of this world

statement “My kingdom is not from this world”
led some believe that reign christ has nothing to do with this world
not this time
not of this place
so we as followers of Christ the King need not worry about these events
simply sign that this world in ending
we are to look to future
            not care about what is happening here
            hunger, poverty, war, injustice are not our concern
our role is simply to get ready for life after death
            real realm of God.

     6.     Our Father in Heaven

attitude bears little resemblance to what Jesus say and did
where he described kingdom of God and now and not yet
where he acted out generosity and healing at the centre of this kingdom
and invited others live based on God’s generosity, mercy and peace
offering that to all they live among
This vision of the reign of Christ is at the heart of the Lrods Prayer
prayer which prays – your kingdom come here on earth as in heaven
reign of Christ is now.
what does this reign look like?
prayer goes on to ask
give us today our daily bread
line pray I suspect without ever really thinking about.
three groups of people Jesus was teaching to pray
·        those lost their lands due to debt now lived as day labourers
o   never sure if they would have work
o   never sure if they and their family would have food
·        those small land holders still had family land
o   forced pay up to 80% crop in tax – Romans and Herod building projects
o   as they saw that disappear wondered if they would keep their land
o   whether they would have enough food – if they would have daily bread
·        representatives of those who obtained so much land because small land holders unable pay taxes and live
o   those who had too much land
o   too much bread
o   refused to share it.
in light of that hwo do you read the rest of this prayer Jesus taught
give us today our daily bread
forgive us our debts
as we forgive those indebted to us
save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory
now and forever

     7.     Today’s invitation

Dalai Lama –
We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.
We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.

invitation this reign of Christ Sunday is to remember that our first loyalty is not to this country
            not to our culture and way of life
it is to reign of Christ
and every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer we are invited to think of the generosity and compassion inherent in that prayer
and be people who live out that prayer.
Then and only then might there be any hope for this world.

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