This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King.
Americans do not have a lot of experience with kings. This could put us at a disadvantage when we are trying to consider, embrace, and celebrate Christ as King.
Authority – in and of itself – is neither good nor bad. The idea of authority has come to mean having the “power to enforce obedience.” But its true meaning is found in the word within the word: author. An author quite naturally has authority over their work. A creator, authority over their creation.
God is both the creator of the universe and the author of our salvation. Everything on heaven and earth is His. He has given all authority to his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus tells his disciples, “All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me.”
Is this authority — is his kingship — the sheer use of power to enforce obedience? To the contrary. Our Lord does not force us to do anything. He has given us the freedom to love Him and one another.
What do we do with this freedom?
Jesus chose to give himself completely to the Father. He chose to love and serve the Father, and obey His will completely. Not out of coercion or enforced power, but freely out of love for the Father. It was this complete submission of himself in love, that reveals to us the nature of the King of kings.
On the cross, Christ fully reveals the nature of his kingship. Christ Our King could have taken himself down from the cross as the thief by his side chided him to do. He could have destroyed his enemies and saved himself. Instead he freely follows the will of his Father: which was not that he would die for death’s sake, but that through his death the world might have life.
Christ the King is not a tyrant or a bully. He is a lover and a true friend. His is a kingdom of self-offering, self-sacrifice, and love. Humanity may abuse authority and government, but God most certainly has not.
God is the Creator and we are the creation. He is the Author and we are his handiwork. When we accept His authorship of our lives, we invite His kingship to spread within us. Jesus told his disciples, “the kingdom of God is within you.”
Jesus encourages us to pray: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Whenever God’s will is done in our lives, we make His kingdom present within us, and to those around us. Wherever the will of the King is done, there is His dominion present. May Christ the King reign in our hearts and lives this day and always!
This article was written by Fr. Doran Stambaugh, Rector.