This Sunday can be called Christ the King.
Sometimes called the Reign of Christ Sunday.
The Sunday when we honour the most UN-king like King.
How did it get it’s name?
The title didn’t appear until 1925 when it was brought in by the Roman Catholic Church following the first world war.
It would have seemed appropriate then to give thanks to God for Victory and peace.
I am sure Jesus would not have chosen this title for himself.
The man who rode a donkey, mixed with outcasts and washed feet.
In today’s reading there were two leaders who represented two very different powers.
Pilate, the man in charge of this meeting, represented the Roman Empire.
Jesus, the man on trial, represented the Kingdom of God.
Empire versus Kingdom. (Slide)
What difference does it make having an empire or a kingdom?
An Empire is something that we are familiar with.
Although we don’t officially have a British Empire now, there are still remnants of it.
In America, once part of the Empire there are towns called Georgetown named after King George III.
There is the Victoria Falls in Africa.
Some of the Caribbean islands still have governors representing the Queen and, of course the Royal family took the title of Empress of India.
We still, bizarrely have the Order of the British Empire and British Empire Medals given out to people who haven’t paid for a peerage.
Empires came about by using power and force to take over countries and their people.
There are three tools at its core.
Fear, violence, and division.
Modern versions exist with groups trying to achieve power by military force, terrorism and dictatorship.
An empire is also maintained by keeping out those you don’t want in it.
Some people, have tried to bring about the Kingdom of God by using the tools that the Empire builders have used.
Well meaning, justice seeking people have used fear, violence, and division while attempting to bring about an end to injustice.
When we dehumanize those who disagree with us, we are using the wrong tools.
When we let fear control our actions and thoughts, we are using the wrong tools.
When we put ourselves apart from those with whom we disagree, we are using the wrong tools.
When we intentionally cause division out of the fear that our goals will not be met, we do not move towards justice, but away from it.
How, then do we change the world to bring in the Kingdom of God.
We use the tools of the Kingdom.
The Kingdom’s answer to fear, violence, and division, are hope, love, and community.
“Do not put your trust in princes.
Happy are those whose hope is in the Lord who upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free, gives sight to the blind and lifts up those who are bowed down.
The Lord watches over the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.”
The tools of the Kingdom are living hopefully, living lovingly, and living inclusively.
Imagine if we faced every conflict with love, hope, and inclusion.
The Church in Wales has recently held a blessing for a same sex marriage.
Many churches are still struggling over the issue of LGBTQ+ inclusion.
What both sides of the conversation are forgetting is that when all of the dust settles, whatever decisions are made we are still going to have to come to the same communion table.
I mean that literally, as in joining together at the actual table at the front of church, and in the metaphorical banquet in heaven.
The conversation has to change if justice is ever to be found.
We all have to learn to live together.
We have to stop using division.
Making it about us and them.
Whoever they are.
We are not building an empire ruled by fear and exclusion
Making it all about keeping the rules, whatever they are.
We are trying to build a Christian Kingdom ruled by love.
Someone who knows more about Greek than I do wrote that the word for Kingdom can equally well mean
An idea I rather like the sound of.
Many of our songs and hymns have us praising the strength and power of Jesus.
There is nothing wrong with that.
I am happy to join in with everybody else.
But we have to accept that it is at odds with the pictures of Jesus in the Gospels.
It is so easy to put all our efforts into praising Jesus and forget to put his teaching into practice.
We must live in hope that Christ’s love will bind us together in community.
That means having activities like Place of Welcome
Sorry wrong picture.
And the Ark
Giving to the food bank and the hygiene bank.
All ways of following the teaching of Jesus.
If we are doing all this then I think we can honestly say we are following the Gospel of Jesus and allow ourselves to really declare and celebrate Christ our King.