MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on what the the concept of Christ as the King of our lives. How do you limit God in your idea of who Christ is? Listen to this podcast of his reflection for Christ the King Sunday.
Please read Ephesians 1:15-21. and Matthew 25:31-46.
MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 11/20/2011Christ the King Sunday.
Please pause this audio and read Ephesians 1:15-21 and Matthew 25:31-46.
There is nothing worse for someone over the age of 35 than to go to your drawer, pull out your favorite pants only to find that they only come up to the bottom of your newly discovered gut. Now, I do know people to whom this low-waist-because-we-don’t-want-to-admit-we-are-too-fat doesn’t bother. They shall remain nameless, Fred.
What if the problem isn’t that our pants are too small, but our conception of Christ that is too small? Now that is more than a wardrobe problem.
In his 1961 protestant classic entitled, Your God Is Too Small, J.B. Phillips challenges our common models for Jesus Christ. Here are some of the chapter titles which he applies to our concepts of God (take a moment to see if any of your personal understandings of Christ fit any of these titles):
1. Resident Policeman.
2. Parental Hangover.
3. Grand Old Man.
5. Absolute Perfection.
6. Heavenly Bosom (just for me).
8. Managing Director.
9. Second-hand God.
10. Perennial Grievance.
11. Pale Galilean.
12. Projected Image.
Do any of these titles conjure up notions of God that are confined and less powerful? Yes. In some way, shape or form, we often will try to confine God to be what we want him to be. We will put down a challenge to God—do it my way or no way at all. We have a tendency to make God prove that he is our conception of God. If he doesn’t fit our notion of what God is, then we will proclaim that he really isn’t a God at all. Now, then, who is playing God there?
What is unfortunate about all this is that this process of making God fit our definition is that it really shrinks our ability to see the One True God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as he is. The being of God is above and beyond our wildest expectations and we are simply not open enough to receive him as he is.
A friend of mine sent me an email this past week. It was a gift from God. It was from her daughter Meg. It was a story about a man who had been shipwrecked on a deserted island. One day, he went out to forage for food. Upon returning to his hut he found it ablaze with flames and smoke shooting up in the air. When he saw it, in disgust he said, “God, how could you do this to me? Haven’t I had enough?”
The next day, after a hard night’s sleep without a hut, a ship came and rescued him from the island. He asked them, “How did you find me?” The ship captain said, “We saw your smoke signal yesterday and travelled all night to get here.”
This story is great because it points to one essential truth about the difference between God and ourselves: we don’t know what is good for us. Only God knows. Only Jesus Christ, who sits at the right hand of God knows. He is above all and all things are subject to him. He works in ways that we cannot imagine. Ours is simply to trust that he will deliver us—some way, some how.
We know that there are governments and peoples all through the world who do not follow Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Verily, there are people who will deny that Jesus is the one to whom all authority must bend. We make a shocking proclamation when we say that all authority, all dominion, all rulers, and all powers are subjected to him. Does this mean that they are all obedient to Him? No. It does mean that in the final analysis, in the true reality of the Universe, he is seated at the right hand of God and he will come again to separate the sheep from the goats. He does have authority to judge us. That is the whole point of what we are doing here today, and the point of the Gospel for this Sunday.
The Great British theologian, and friend of Benedict XVI, Dr. Geoffrey Wainwright writes in his book Doxology, “The intention of [Christ the King Sunday] is to bring home to the present time the theme of Christ’s universal rule.” That is almost impossible in today’s day and age because we have either been trying to make God into one of Phillips’ categories or we just don’t want to ascribe to God his ultimate saving power.
We do this because we want to be the “captain of our souls,” “our own person,” etc.. What makes the proclamation and emphasis of this day so hard is that we want, with all our being, to deny that Jesus is the King. By denying his Kingship we do not have to be his subjects, we are able then to live the lives that we want to live—any way we want to live them.
The difference between Christians and those who are not Christians is that we admit in the midst of the reality of life that Jesus is the King of the Universe. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Our lives are focused on the one true King. That is why Martin Luther King went to Birmingham to set the situation right. That is why that young lady at Columbine High School confessed Jesus is Lord and then was shot by the young men who terrorized the school in April of 1999.
What is the sinister edict of this King Christ? Love God and love others. His edict is to care for others and not to take advantage of other people. He commands us to treat others as we would want to be treated. He commands us to not forget the poor and the needy. He commands us to live holy and righteous lives. He commands us to treat our bodies in such a way that only now modern science encourages us to do because it is the safest way to live. He commands us to do all we can for his glory and for our well being.
(with heavy sarcasm) Yeah, he sure is oppressive, that guy who let himself die so that my unrighteous selfishness would be changed!
Now, getting back to our small pants… We all need, every Christ the King Sunday, to reevaluate our notion of who Jesus is and what he is about. Too often, our understanding of Christ is like our pants, it doesn’t size up. We often allow our desire to get what we want, influence who we think Christ is and how we react to him. So, rather than giving up any notion of Christ, let’s assume the most amazing notion: he is the King and ruler of our lives. What he says goes. If he says to love our neighbor, then we are about finding ways to love our neighbor that do not violate his first commandment to love our God. If he says, love God, then we are to do it.
I could probably give this reflection in thirty seconds by saying, “He is king. Do what he says. You change for him, stop trying to make him change for you.”
As Your Spiritual Advisor, I have wanted to give you reasons to see how this is for your own good. But if you think about it, as Christians we ought not be worried about what is in our own good, we should be worrying about what is in his own good.
I am sorry if God is cramping our style, but we were not created for our own delight. We were created to enjoy God and worship him forever.
Ask yourself, “How do my actions proclaim that Jesus Christ is the King of the Universe?” Better yet, ask, “How do my actions proclaim that Jesus Christ is the King of my life?” Amen? Amen.
But as MySpiritualAdvisor, I have wanted to give you rasons to see how this is for your own good. If you think about it, as Christians we ought not be worried
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