Sunday, 20 November 2011
Feast of Christ the King - and I thought maybe this Sunday could be the first time I reused a sermon - last year we had Jesus and the penitent thief - 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom' and Jesus promising 'today you will be with me in Paradise'. Then I realised (liturgical ingénue that I am) there was a different reading set for Christ the King this year, that of the separation of the nations at the end of all things, into sheep and goats - righteous and unrighteous. The Son of Man, sitting in kingly glory, meets out a seemingly final judgement, but by what criteria? - how well we preached, prayed or read the bible? No, it' s about practical action. Those poor goats, they had no idea that every time they turned a blind eye to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the sick and the prisoner, they ignored Jesus, incurring judgement upon themselves. The sheep, by contrast, had no idea that whenever they ministered to these ones they ministered to the king. Some king. There's no escaping the discomfort you feel in the story. With this king, forgiveness and judgement seem both to be part of the package.