Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blogging Towards Sunday, November 21

What would you do if you were king (or queen) for a day?  It's what we dream of: be in charge, have that castle, the crown that implies power, prestige and authority.  Yet what would we do with such power?  We might want to change the world, heal the wrongs, bring justice, and maybe also do a little something for ourselves.  A favorite band of the 80s - the Thompson Twins - wrote a song about this.

The lectionary passages for this week lift up the kingship of Christ.  Now that masculine image may seem a bit dated in our non-aristocratic democracy.  And yet what it gets at underneath it all is just as a propos as ever.  We live in a season in which we want someone to fix our problems, to take control but not to take over.  We want leaders who can use the power we entrust them with for good.  Isn't that what our recent election cycle proclaimed?

The scriptures for today lift up the contrast between what we have experienced of kings and what God intended.  That's what Jeremiah is talking about.  In Luke we glimpse the last moments of Jesus' life which seem to be in radical contrast as to what is valued as great in our world.  Colossians lifts up this unseemingly grand king as not just a leader, but as the visible image of the invisible God, a sort of icon through whom we glimpse the heart of the Divine.  In a world where prestige is based upon power, success and the mantra of picking ourselves up by our bootstraps, the God experienced as the crucified One seems not just unsightly but downright offensive.  Throughout the history of the church this image has even been considered too much, or completely denied in a thirst for power, influence and cultural relevancy.  We've often talked of the way of Jesus, but when it comes down to it, it just seems to risky to actually tread: anyone who wants to come after me must pick up their cross and follow!  Not quite a perky proclamation that we're quick to put on bumper stickers.

A king who doesn't exercise power through domination, control or dictates, but rather receives authority through service, justice and authenticity sounds like just the sort of leader that we all are thirsting for.

No comments: