- Jeremiah 21:1-6
- Canticle 4 or Canticle 16
- Colossians 1:11-20
- Luke 23:33-43
Today our readings show us what it means that Jesus is King. We conclude each church calendar year recognizing Christ’s sovereignty. Our liturgy on this Sunday celebrates the promise of great things for our future. Next week begins the season of Advent. As the days grow shorter, we see glimmers of light as we prepare for the coming of our King again to be a light of the world.
Both Jeremiah and Paul speak of our destiny as children of God. Jeremiah predicts the restoration of David’s dynasty, not so much on political grounds as on a religious and moral level. Jesus was the new David who accomplishes this hope. Paul concludes today’s epistle (letter) with a hymn to Christ who is all in all, the divine peacemaker of creation.
One of the anchor of hope for Christians is the story of the good thief, who speaks to us of our destiny. Luke’s Jesus exercises his ministry of forgiveness to the last, in a crucifixion scene free of the shadows and gloom remembered by Matthew and Mark. Luke links the royal titles Messiah of God and King of the Jews with Jesus’ identity as the servant who suffers as the chosen one.
God of unbroken weakness, you laugh at our love of power: may we find kingship in the love that is killed for speaking its name without even the shadow of force; through Jesus Christ, King of Fools. Amen. “Prayers for An Inclusive Church” by Steven Shakespeare (2009: Church Publishing)
Baptismal Discipleship: “Jesus is Lord” (the earliest Christian creed) means that Jesus stands above all other earthly power and authority. All through history and into the present moment, choosing God above earthly authority has caused persecution and conflict in the life of the church. The congregation and wider church must witness always to the authority of Jesus Christ, realizing that there will be times when conflict will be the direct result of such a witness.
Christian practice and liturgical tradition: Some of the traditions associated with worship in the Episcopal Church have their origins in the royal court: purple, the color for Advent and Lent, was the color associated with royalty and became linked to the coming of Christ as king.