Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sun. Nov. 25, 2012 (J. Evan Kreider)

Launching from John 18:33-37, J. Evan Kreider elaborated on the story of Jesus taken before Pilate, having being seized, physically punished, and interrogated all night. Jesus was then asked by Pilate to explain why the Jewish temple society considered him such a threat to the peace and good order of the Empire. Jesus was actually in no danger from the Jewish leadership, as they were proscribed from killing him, notwithstanding the belief of Christians throughout history. But the stakes were raised in front of Pilate, and perhaps Pilate at last began to understand when he asked “So you are then a king?” (Jn 18:37). Though Jesus declared his kingdom was one ‘not of this world’, he insisted it existed, anchored in ultimate truth; but Pilate remained ignorant. Are we any wiser? Though always alluded to in prayers, in psalms, and in parables, this kingdom remains unexplained. This story of Jesus’ confrontation with Pilate, so dense in allusion, anchors our modern understanding of Christ as King. This feast day of Christ the King Sunday (held on Eternity Sunday) is relatively recent, having been instituted by Pope Pius XI in response to Mussolini’s republicanism, to remind the faithful their allegiance remained to God, not to earthly rulers. It sits on the same day as the older holy day of Totensonntag, a day to commemorate the dead in Lutheran and some Anabaptist traditions. For some of us of republican bent (particularly in North America) the image of a King over us remains troubling, given the past malfeasance of earthly rulers. Nevertheless, Pius XI’s clarion “Christ’s peace for Christ’s kingdom” was effective, and leaves us with questions we should continue to ask ourselves today. “Who do you say that I am?” is not just for Pilate but for us. Is Jesus King to us? A gentle shepherd? What is our fervent hope when we pray “Thy kingdom come”? [AP]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, November 25th, 2012 using your browser's preferred media player.



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