Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Language of Kingship?

This is an edited excerpt from Kimberlee Conway Ireton's book, The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year. 

Last Sunday - the last of the church year - celebrated the Kingship of Christ. As we end the year, it is only fitting to celebrate the eschatological reality that Christ will come again, in power and glory, to reign over all the earth. 

I understand that many people cringe at this language of kingship, perhaps because of its connotations of dominance, hierarchy, and colonialism. And I sympathize. Even the best of our earthly kings is fallen, and too many of them have been power hungry tyrants. 

But when I look at the kind of king Jesus was, I see the courageous and loving leader that every earthly ruler should aspire to, and it makes me long for such a king, a King who would come among his subjects to live as one of them and then allow them to execute him rather than calling on the power at his disposal. In Jesus, there was not a particle of dominance, nor hierarchy, nor colonialism. Only love, deep and wide and poured out in life and death. 

On the feast of Christ the King, we celebrate the day when Christ’s great love will be fully realized on earth, the day when our King will return. He will right all wrongs. He will judge the living and the dead. He will bind up the broken hearted. He will give sight to the blind. He will heal the lame. He will set the prisoners free. He will establish justice once and for all, justice tempered with mercy so that all life might flourish under his reign. 

Can I just say: I can hardly wait for that day! I long for that coming, for an end to all that is wrong with the world—all that is wrong with me—and the restoration of all things, all people, all relationships. I long for Jesus to gather all things to Himself, things in Heaven and things on earth and transform them—us!—into the vision He had for us from the beginning of time. I long for this great eucatastrophe. No more sin, no more sickness, no more suffering, no more slavery or exploitation or pain. Only goodness and glory so grand it’s beyond all I can ask or imagine. 

It is this victorious Second Coming that we celebrate on the final Sunday of the church year, a liturgical entering into the eschatological reality of Christ’s return. 

And so we come full circle. We end the church year proclaiming and celebrating the now of Christ’s coming even as we live in the not-yet of waiting for Him to come. Next week, a new church year begins, and we will circle into Advent again, living into our longing for God to come to us, crying with generations of God’s people: Come, Lord Jesus! 


Post a Comment