Posts Tagged ‘11-20-2016’

Long Live the King 11-20-2016

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

I mentioned before today is the feast of Christ the King, what does this feast mean? What can we do to appreciate Jesus as King?
I have an idea I’d like you to think about. Bear with me because you’ll think I’m a little crazy as I develop it, but eventually I think you’ll see the point I want to make. Let’s spend a little time thinking about how we use the word “king” in our conversations. We speak of the lion as the king of the beasts and we have all heard of King Kong, a powerful but much maligned oversized gorilla. And the Schlitz people boast that theirs is the king of beer. If you want a great burger you go to Burger King. A few years ago a Nike commercial declared Michael Jordan the king of the court. Then there’s that old cowboy, Roy Rogers, king of the cowboys, and there’s a lesser known king, the polka king, Frankie Yankovitch. But enough is enough! What is the point in rattling off a list of kings as varied as the hamburger king and the polka king?
As we listen to the list, we realize that however diverse, all these kings share something in common – they excel at what they do. They all have some crowning achievement. For example, the lion has a roar that would frighten anyone, and King Kong made the earth tremble when he beat his hairy chest. Schlitz claimed it had the best beer and Burger King the best burgers in the land. Nike declared that Michael Jordan could sky higher than anyone else.
Today we celebrate Christ as a king. What does he excel at? What’s his crowning achievement? Well, we know what he wasn’t the best at. He wasn’t the best liked, certainly not by the Scribes or Pharisees; the best dressed (a one-piece tunic and that was it); the best looking (nowhere do we read he looked like Charleton Heston); the best likely to succeed (the cross did not hold the sweet smell of success); the best behaved (sweet, simple Jesus he was not).
Well, then how did he excel? What was he best at? He excelled at being human. If you want to know what it is to be a powerful gorilla, you look to King Kong; if you want to know what it is to be the king of the court, you look to Michael Jordan; if you want to know what it is like to be human, you look to Jesus.
But what does Jesus excelling at being human mean? I’d say it means three things:
You count!
I’m for you!
Come to the party!
“You count!” We know what it means not to count. It means to be: looked through, overlooked, under looked, nobody, a no account, nothing.
“You count!” This means: all the runny noses matter, all the overweight’s matter, all the underweight’s matter, all the just-so’s matter, all the wallflowers, confused, questioning, dropouts matter.
Jesus made everybody feel they counted. He made little Zacchaeus feel ten feet tall. He named Simple Simon “the rock.” He turned the prostitute into Dulcinea.
Secondly, Jesus let everybody know, “I’m for you!” Period! Not, “I’m for you…”
…if you pass a test,
…if you get your hair cut and your nails cleaned,
…if you get smart and well-mannered,
…if you get the earring removed,
…if you’re tops in everything.
No, “I’m for you” as you are, warts and all, neuroses and all. You can rely on me, lean on me, trust me. I’m no fair-weather friend. I believe in you!
Thirdly, Jesus invited everybody to the party. No one was to be: excluded, rejected, turned back, cast out, sent on their way, refused admittance.
His parties were not: mutual admiration societies, elitist gatherings, old boy’s club meetings.
“Come to the party”: whites, blacks, browns, polka dots, men women, poor, rich, tall, short, old, young, suburbanites, city folk, country dwellers! You are all welcome!
Christ’s message was and is: “You count, I’m for you, and come to the party.” But what about his crowning achievement? The touch of glory? His crowning achievement was and is the cross. No big roar. No polka. No razzle-dazzle on the basketball court. Just the cross.
Certainly the cross represents others’ attempts to cut short and put an end to Jesus’ message. But it is also Jesus’ way of saying you can’t stop a winner, a king. He went all the way to put himself on the line for us, and he made his point most eloquently on the cross. Because on that cross he said to another reject: “You count; I’m for you; this day you will be with me at the party in everlasting life!
Long live the king!