In celebrating Christ as the Universal King today reminds us that we are at the end of the Churches year. What a year it has been! For several months we were unable to gather as a Church community as we are today and, Easter, the central feast of the Church’s year was off limits under its normal circumstances. Little did we know that would be the case this time last year.
The imagery of ‘the shepherd’ in both the Old and New Testament this morning Ezekiel 34,Psalm 22 and Matthew 25: 31-46 is comforting to hear given the uncertainty of these times, work issues, health issues, housing issues, economic issues faced by our own people and more intently by so many other people throughout the world where Covid is out of control. And not only Covid.
Christ is the Good Shepherd holding each of us in view leading us to greener pastures. Hope in him enables us to persevere. Our concerns are his concerns. He is the one who rescues us from the mist and places of darkness we can find ourselves in and in him we will always find our rest.
Christ raised from the dead sits at God’s right hand and is one with him. All things come under his rule. Through our baptism we are united with him and are called to share in his kingship. Remember each of us was anointed priest, prophet, and King. That kingship is not one of power over but power for, for the sake of the other and the good of our world.
Who and what do we have authority over? How do we exercise that authority? How do we use the power we have to bring life and growth to the situations and people we influence?
Christ exercised his kingship by dying on the cross. In a sense the cross was his throne. He spent himself completely for our sake to bring us all into life in him as St Paul reminds us. We know that sharing in the kingship of Christ will demand that we spend ourselves too, often in demanding and challenging ways.
Caring for and being there for someone who is physically or mentally unwell. Providing for the wellbeing of those under our care. Standing up for people others dismiss, being good stewards of the gifts and resources the earth provides for the sake of the common good and to preserve and conserve what we have for future generations so that others can be lead literally to greener pastures.
As we come to the end of the Church’s year we are purposefully and thankfully reminded of the fundamental call of the Gospel that Jesus the Shepherd King himself gave witness too by his life and actions. The King of the Universe identifies himself with those who are hungry, those who thirst for justice, those shut out and displaced in anyway searching for a place of welcome, those who are naked, sick and imprisoned. Our faith is not a whole lot of theory or pious platitudes but calls out of us real, compassionate, and concrete actions to revive the drooping spirits of the poor, lonely, sick and abandoned.
Blessings to you and your loved ones for the remainder of 2020 and for the Advent and Christmas Seasons. This is my last Sunday sharing for the year. You may like to listen to my version of ‘Be Thou my Vision’ from ‘A Noble Work’.