“I think my Sunday school teacher is mixed up. She told us the story of Jesus dying on the cross. But in music Mrs. Keseley said that Advent starts in a week. That is when we get ready for baby Jesus. I know Jesus didn’t die right before he was born. Someone is mixed up.”
Just in case you need a reply…here is the inside scoop. This Sunday is Christ the King Sunday–the last Sunday of the church year. The church calendar goes through the life of Jesus. Before we start the year again in Advent waiting for Jesus, we take one Sunday to reflect on Jesus as King. So yes, our Gospel lesson will be about Jesus on the cross.
A king on the cross sounds a little mixed up too. Remember the cross was a tool of torture and humiliation.
What qualities are you looking for in a king? Someone strong and powerful? Someone rich or financially wise? Someone to take control? Certainly we want a king who can save himself. Check out our Bible reading for Christ the King Sunday—Luke 23:33-43.
We find Jesus an entirely different kind of king. Jesus sets aside his power to become human. He sets aside his power to walk next to the little, lost and least. Jesus is willing to be vulnerable and humiliated even to death on the cross. Instead of acting with revenge, Jesus forgives those who crucify him. Instead of rejecting the sinner next to him, Jesus welcomes him into God’s kingdom.
So yes, dear children, this Sunday is mixed up. Jesus is not the kind of king we expect. Yet this is exactly the kind of king we need. We need a King who will stand with us in our suffering. We need a King who cares for those on the margins, for those who are poor, for those who are excluded. We need a King full of welcome. We need a King who gives forgiveness, mercy, grace and love.
Christ is that King. We are welcomed into God’s kingdom of forgiveness, welcome, grace, and love. And in response to God’s great mercy, we follow Jesus into the world with that same forgiveness, welcome, grace, and love.