True Power

Homily St Mary’s Marlborough, 25th November 2018, 8.00am
Christ the King: Revelation 1.4b-8 & John 18.33-37

christIn these last few weeks, we have been hearing readings from the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation. Readings, prophecies and visions, that encourage us to think about ‘the last things’. And today, on this last Sunday before Advent, this theme culminates in the Feast of Christ the King, putting before us the question what or who it is that ultimately rules our lives.

We speak about ‘leading a life’, and so we indeed use on a day-to-day basis the language of ‘leadership’ to describe the way we go about living. That is why these readings about the last things, the kingship of Jesus, and the kingdom of God are not just abstract theories that apply to the future, but they apply to our lives now as well: those moments in which we truly let Christ rule in our hearts,  are the moments we see God and for a moment can be in His kingdom.

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The New Jerusalem

The reading below, is a familiar one, taken from the Book of Revelation. The Book of Revelation is a collection of prophesies and visions attributed to John. Its language is strange for us, 21st century modern people, who are used to looking at things scientifically and factually. Maybe not too bad a way of listening to this short passage, is as if it is taken from a yet-to-be-released Harry Potter film.

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Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;

 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. 

You hear, esoteric language, talking about places that we cannot really imagine. This time of year, just before Advent, a lot of the readings and themes we hear in Church are about visions, prophecies and what may happen in the future. And by ‘the future’ we don’t mean ‘what happens when we are older’, but what will ultimately happen to humanity and the world. Of course, the answer is, that we don’t know, and so in some sense these visions are speculation of what might happen. However, in some way, one might say, this journey is also mirrored in our everyday lives.

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The Now and Not Yet

A reflection on the Feast of Christ the King

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. (Matthew 25.35-36)

This coming Sunday the Church celebrates the feast of Christ the King. It is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, with Advent starting next week. We start the Christian year with looking towards Christmas, the birth of Jesus as a vulnerable baby, and we end the year by reminding ourselves of the authority of Christ as King. Although this may seem a straightforward movement from weakness to power, the opposite is true: at both occasions we see that power and weakness are not what they seem to be, and at both occasions we are reminded that what was, what is, and what will be, are inextricably linked.

Tidcombe
St Michael’s Church, Tidcombe

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