Today, on the liturgical calendar of many churches, is “Christ the King” Sunday.
Many a sermon will be preached on how “Christ is the King of all Creation.” This, in spite of every indication to the contrary in every day’s news. Maybe Christ will be king someday. But not today.
Kings rule things. By definition.
Kings give orders. People who are not kings obey. Or else.
My kid, when he was a few years younger, once asked, “Or else, what?”
“You don’t want to find out,” I said.
Then he obeyed. I don’t remember what it was I was asking him to do. Probably, it was to turn off the TV and come to dinner. (My kid is now a teenager. I no longer wield that kind of authority.)
That’s what it’s like to be king.
People say that, even if Christ is not at the moment that kind of King who commands armies, Christ is “the King of my heart.”
There are maybe one or two people I believe when they say that. Mostly, I don’t. Because they don’t very often do what he said to do.
And that is the heart of the matter. It’s why Christianity in America isn’t believable.
If Christ were the King of the hearts of most of the people who say that, the Republican party would have long since gone out of business. I’m not saying Christians would be Democrats either. I don’t know what they’d be. I don’t think Jesus was a registered member of any party. I’m just saying that when I read the Bible, I see Jesus ordering his followers to take care of children, not canceling their CHIP benefits. And, yes, it’s political. Kings rule things. They wield power over people. They set policy. Of course it’s political.
Believable Christianity would be the kind where the words and actions of the people who claim to be following Jesus match the words and actions of Jesus. It’s the matching that makes it believable.
- “Love your enemy.”
- “Let the little children come to me.”
- “Feed my sheep.”
- “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.”
- “Don’t pray in public. Nobody needs to see how pious you are.”
- “Heal the sick.”
If Christ is really your King, start with these. Or pick any number of others — there are 4 gospels’ worth to choose from. Do them enough to make them believable.