Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christ The King Sunday

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all
things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of
lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided
and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together
under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This week we celebrated Christ the King Sunday, focusing on the passage from Colossians 1 where Paul talks about Christ’s reign over the entire universe. In this passage Jesus is portrayed as the firstborn of all creation and the firstborn of the dead. When Paul speaks of Jesus in this way he gives us a clue as to how he thinks about the relationship between creation and new creation. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are for the purpose of a new creation and for the redemption of humankind. This, as much as anything, is what Christ’s kingly rule consists of: the restoration of the world and those in his image to a state of redemption, a state of flourishing. This great theological truth offers a plethora of applications; we chose to focus on how this passage speaks to Christ’s taking our enemies on as his own and soundly defeating them.

When the Heidelberg Catechism takes up the portion of the Apostle’s Creed that pertains to Christ’s kingly rule it asks these questions and offers these answers.

Q. How does Christ's ascension to heaven benefit us?
A. First, he is our advocate in heaven in the presence of his Father. Second, we have our flesh as a full guarantee in heaven that Christ our head, will also take us, his members up to himself. Third, he sends us, as a guarantee on earth, his Spirit by whose power we seek what is above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God, and not things that are on earth.
Q. Why the next words: "and sits at the right hand of God"?
A. Christ ascended to heaven so that he might show there that he is head of his church, and that the Father rules all things through him.
Q. How does this glory of Christ our head benefit us?
A. First, through his Holy Spirit he pours out his gifts from heaven upon us his members. Second, by his power he defends us and keeps us safe from all enemies.

Christ’s declaration of all of our enemies to be his own leads us to conclude quite preciously that his love burns hottest in and around us when we are at risk. We are at risk whenever we are in the throes of temptation or in the aftermath of our sin. In the instance of temptation, Christ is present and offers himself as our support. Over time we learn to turn to him more and more for his strength as his love and acceptance of us becomes more deeply real to us. And when we sin, Christ is there to forgive us and to reestablish us in our identity as those who belong to him. In both of the above circumstances Christ is standing between us and our enemies. In the instance of temptation he is standing in judgment of the potential sin, offering us help and desiring to separate us from it. In the instance of the aftermath of our sin he separates us from our sin through forgiving us and reminding us that the story of our life is not stitched to the sin we have committed but instead is woven into the story of his life, death and resurrection.

1. In the worship service we talked about God’s affection for us as total human beings. He does not just love us out of obligation but delights in us as his children. Is it hard for you to think of God “liking” you in this way?

2. What sorts of things can you do to help yourself believe more deeply in Christ’s role as your protector?

No comments:

Post a Comment