Posts Tagged "Christ the King"

Sermon November 20: King of Paradise

Posted by on Nov 20, 2016 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon November 20: King of Paradise Faith United Methodist Church November 20, 2016 Christ the King Sunday Rev. Kristabeth Atwood Scripture:  Luke 1:68-79, Luke 23:33-43 Prayer of Illumination: Reign in our hearts, O God, and shape us as your people. Help us celebrate all the ways you reveal Christ to us ~ through our giving, our receiving, our serving, our witness, and our worship. Amen. Sermon: King of Paradise Today is Christ the King Sunday. It is not one of the blowout holy days of the church year, like Easter or Christmas. It happens the Sunday right before we enter the season of Advent. Advent is the season of anticipating the coming of Christ ~ both as a baby in a Bethlehem manger and his future coming at some unexpected time ~ and culminates in the celebration of Christmas. But before Advent begins, and before we start singing our Christmas carols we stop on this day, pause for a moment and remind ourselves who Jesus is, why it is he came in the first place, and what it means to know he is still coming. This is where Christ the King Sunday fits in. In recent years some have revisioned Christ the King Sunday as the Reign of Christ Sunday. I guess that makes sense. We don’t have many kings around anymore and the ones we do have ~ at least in western countries ~ often hold more of a figurehead position. In Jesus day, though, kings ruled. People were at the mercy of the king’s decisions and whims. There weren’t the checks and balances in government as we have today in this country. No matter how we feel about our current, or upcoming, administration we can take some comfort in the fact that our government was established in a way that one person would not have unchecked, unlimited, indiscriminate power. In Jesus day, though, (and still in some places in the world) one’s livelihood, one’s religious freedom, one’s very life depended on whether the current king was merciful or a tyrant. So it was radical for those early followers of Jesus to call him their king. In doing so they were rejecting the authority of their earthly king and saying, essentially, “You’re not the king of me.” The one whose rule they truly followed was Jesus. They claimed themselves as subject not to the king to whom they paid taxes, but as citizens in the heavenly kingdom. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve heard stories of what Jesus’ kingship is all about. First we listened in on the Sadducees quizzing Jesus on the resurrection of the dead. We learned from Jesus’ response that the heavenly kingdom will be something different, and greater, than what we experience here on earth. As children of the resurrection we are not called to figure it out as much as we are called to trust that God has it figured out. And Jesus, as the king of our lives, will rule with love and mercy. Last week we met Zacchaeus and learned that the heavenly kingdom is not just for the ‘right’ people, the ‘proper’ people, the ‘insiders.’ The heavenly kingdom is for everyone. Zacchaeus was an outsider and a sinner by all objective opinions. People wondered why Jesus was even hanging around such a man. But Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house.” Zacchaeus is a child of the resurrection. And so is the criminal in today’s gospel lesson. Crucified, hanging on a cross under a sign that read, “This is the King of the Jews,” Jesus didn’t appear very kingly. He...

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Sermon November 23: To Me

Posted by on Nov 23, 2014 in Sunday Message KB | Comments Off on Sermon November 23: To Me Faith United Methodist Church November 23, 2014 Christ the King Sunday Rev. Krista Beth Atwood Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46 Prayer of Illumination:         Reign in our hearts, O God, and shape us as your people. Help us celebrate all the ways you reveal Christ to us ~ through our giving, our receiving, our serving, our witness, and our worship. Amen. Sermon:                                To Me        This is one of those Sundays when our liturgical calendar doesn’t line up too well with our cultural celebrations. As Americans we are whetting our appetites for turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie. Some of us will be traveling quite a distance to be with loved ones. Gary, Ben and I will be driving to Maine on Wednesday to visit family. Others among us will be welcoming out-of-town guests or visiting friends for the feast. And in addition to Thanksgiving, our culture tells us that the Christmas shopping season is about to begin with Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday and Cyber Monday.   It’s a busy time! Our liturgical calendar, though, doesn’t include Thanksgiving, Black Friday or even Cyber Monday. The liturgical calendar was, in fact, established several hundred years before the pilgrims ever set foot on what would become American soil. The events we celebrate in the liturgical year are beyond nationalities and today’s commemoration ~ Christ the King ~ has nothing to do with earthly rulers or celebrations of patriotism. Today we turn our focus to the reign of Christ in our lives today and in the age to come.  To help us in this, our lectionary gives us one of Jesus’ teachings. In it, Jesus describes the end of the age, when he will separate his people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats in his flock. The sheep are those that visited the sick, gave food to the hungry, shared water with the thirsty, and clothed the naked. It’s these that will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven because, as Jesus said, “…just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family you did it to me.” The goats, on the other hand, don’t make out so well. They are the ones that didn’t visit or give or share or clothe. They will be sent to the eternal fire. “…just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” In this teaching we hear Jesus’ description of the final judgment. Those things that Jesus identified as essential to entering the kingdom of God are things as simple ~ and as complicated ~ as feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, showing hospitality to strangers, looking after the sick and visiting those in prison. As our Seasons of the Spirit puts it, “It is about living in a relationship that enables us to become the person, the people, we are intended to be…” This is not a comforting teaching, though. Like the last two weeks of parables, this is a difficult one. All three ~ the foolish bridesmaids, the fearful servant, and now the sheep and the goats ~ are about judgment and judgment is not always a very comforting topic. When I look at my life I recall times when I gave to those in need and visited those who were struggling. I also recall times when I walked by or looked the other way. I remember instances when, rushing to my next appointment, I didn’t think I had enough time to help. This parable reminds me...

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