On Sunday Br Sam had the pleasure of preaching at Christchurch for their patronal festival, here is the transcript.
Today is your patronal festival; the feast of Christ the King, the lectionary readings for the last few weeks have focused on Christ’s Kingdom and what that may look like whereas today we are looking at the King Himself. Jesus Christ. Whenever we want to describe the heavenly we are unfortunately confined to the earthly. We are forced to use symbols and aspects of our world since we cannot comprehend anything outside of it. So we call Christ King. Sitting at the right hand of God ruling over all things heavenly and, one day, over all things earthly too when everything is made new.
The term King does not sum up Christ fully, in fact elsewhere in the Bible Christ is described as Priest, Prophet and King in an attempt to better sum up who he is and his role in creation. But even that is inadequate.
The problem with using the analogy of a King is that we live in a fallen world and that means that our rulers too are fallen. King’s in that age ruled over area’s of the world, governing their people and defending them from threat. That is what Christ as King means for us. Christ rules over us; he is in charge make no mistake about that, we as citizens of his kingdom ultimately answer to him. He places others over us who we answer to, our political leaders and our religious leaders too, but they also answer to Christ at the end of all things.
Christ rules over us, justly, he doesn’t abuse his power, he does what is truly best for us.
Christ defends us, he looks after his people, he stands with us in the good times and the bad, and yes bad things will still happen, he doesn’t put us in a bubble that’s not what it means, but he is there for us, to help us, to give us strength. And he is there to take our burdens when they become too much, for his yoke is easy and his burden light.
We, here and now, are part of his kingdom, a kingdom which breaks through into our present through us but which us ultimately still to come, we only get glimpses now. When we come to communion later in the service we catch a glimpse of that kingdom.
When Christ walked about on earth the kingdom started to break through as he worked, as he preached and as he healed. Today his kingdom breaks through, shines through the cracks we make when we live and act as he did, when we live up to our King’s ways.
Today is your patronal festival, this place is named Christchurch and one of the things about patronages is that those who are in that church should look to how their patron lived and try to do the same. You haven’t got an easy task. You as the people of God in this place are called to be live to the standard of Christ, to live as the king lived and still lives.
To explain what that looks like I want to read an excerpt from a sermon preached by a man called Dr SM Lockeridge who was particularly prominent in America during the civil rights movement. I recommend you go and look up the rest of this when you go home. But this is what sort of a king we have in Jesus. He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He strengthens and sustains. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleansed the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers the captive. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. And He beautifies the meek.
That is the kind of King we have in Jesus, he is always available for us. Now we are to go and do the same. Amen