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Message from Our Pastor

 

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 Excerpted from Pastor Hoffman's November 25th homily.  Relevant text: John 18:33-37

So, ‘tis the season for lists. How many made a list for Thanksgiving of the food you were going to have?. And, what about grocery lists? Maybe you even had a guest list?.

OK, let’s move on, as everybody else has, to Christmas. There is the gift list, the Christmas card list, and, of course, the naughty and nice list.

Then, during the ordinary time, there is the never ending to-do list, your bucket list, and even the list app, to keep track of all your lists.

So in the spirit of the season of lists, I would like you today, during the sermon, to help me create some lists.

Today is Christ the King Sunday so today’s lists are going to be about? Yes, kings and Christ. Jesus is always a good answer.

Let’s start with the easy list. Name for me some kings, real or imagined.

“Hezekiah.”

“Solomon.”

“David.”

“Nebuchadnezzar.”

No one ever says King Friday. How about King Louis or King Arthur? King Tut? Burger King?

 Now that we have our minds set on kings, let’s move on to the next list. This time I want our list to be a little bit more specific.

Jesus was born at the time of the Roman rule of Judea, and Rome was ruled by a king (an emperor actually), who was?

Caesar Augustus.

And, the King of Judea?

“Herod.”

Now, I want us to think about what kings meant at that time.

More than once, Jesus’ followers wanted to make him king, and they were looking for a specific kind of king.

I now want you to think about the basic characteristics, and the duties of the king  that Jesus’ followers were looking for him to be.

“A warrior.”

“To conquer more kingdoms.”

“A leader.”

“A liberator.”

And where did the king usually live?

“A palace.”

And what did the king usually wear?

“Royal clothes.”

“A crown.”

OK. Keep that image of a king in your mind.

Here, in what would become the United States,in the 1700s we rebelled against being under the rule of a king and for seven years we fought.

And, even now, today, I would say that we still have that same thought, against being under royal rule, based on our history.

Interestingly, the Jewish royalty, the Pharisees and Sadducees, thought they had a dangerous rabble-rouser among them in Jesus. They had heard the rumors of people beginning to believe this Jesus was the Messiah, the King. And if he were the king, where would that leave them?

This brings us to our third list. We know that Jesus is, in fact, a king, and not just any king, but the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

In today’s gospel lesson, Jesus says, “My kingdom is not from this world.”

We’ve already talked about the kings and kingdoms of this world. Now let’s talk about the kingdom of Jesus the Christ.

Think about the scripture that you have heard, read or studied over the years. What has Jesus told us and taught us about the Kingdom of God?

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

“Blessed are the poor and the persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of God.

“Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.

“Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs, and if you do not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, you will never enter it.

“Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.”

Jesus also says that the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, and like a merchant in search of fine pearls, and like a landowner who hires laborers early in the morning, again at noon, and again late in the afternoon, and pays them the same wages. 

The value of the kingdom of God is priceless, and yet, the value of everything, and everyone, within the kingdom is of equal worth.

Just where is this kingdom of God? According to Jesus in Luke’s gospel, the kingdom of God is not something coming, or something you can point to here or there, but rather, the kingdom of God is among us.

On this Christ the King Sunday, we celebrate the reign of Christ, although our Lord and King, Jesus reigns among us in a kingdom including all of us.

This Christ was born, and for this reason that he came into the world. We bear witness to this truth by the cross that we wear and the name that we bear. 

And with that cross comes one last list, not a list of our making, but God’s list. The list of names in the Book of Life. Christ the King has claimed you as his own, and welcomed you into his kingdom, a kingdom like no other, for an eternity that has already begun right here and right now. This, my brothers and sisters, is truth.

The word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God. Amen.

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