It’s Christ the King Sunday.
One of the ways we can bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia, today is to go to church (or tune in to the webcast at 8:30 or 11:00) and crown Christ king. We can remember, as I plan to say in today’s sermon, that he didn’t have to be elected to his office (thank God). The world didn’t give him his kingdom and the world can’t take it away. And, as the choir will sing this morning, “He shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”
Coming to church on Christ the King Sunday is a good reminder that this year-long, every-member mission trip we’re on is not, ultimately, up to us. We can’t bring heaven to earth without help–without Christ’s help. When he taught his disciples to pray he taught them to pray that God’s kingdom would come and God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven, but right there at the end of the prayer, just in case they began to have some success, he teaches them to pray: “Thine (not ours) is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.”
So, let’s get up, get dressed, and go to church this morning. Let’s praise God for the great things he is doing in Richmond and beyond. Let’s remember that the kingdom, the power, and the glory belong to him…
Yesterday was Christ the King Sunday, and I closed out the sermon with this story:
Back in 1984 I went to the polling place to cast my vote for president. That was the year Walter Mondale was running against the incumbent, Ronald Reagan. I was 25 years old, I had just started seminary, I was out to change the world. To tell you the truth I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to the presidential campaign and as I made my way to the polling place I found that I didn’t have strong feelings about either candidate. I’ve never had a lot of interest in politics, never pinned all my hopes on any elected official. I stood in that voting booth for a long time, looking at those two names, and finally I chose the third option: I wrote in a name, and the name I wrote in was my dad’s. When I told people about it later I told them that, honestly, I couldn’t think of anyone who would make a better president. No offense to those two candidates who were running but I knew my dad, I knew he was good and kind and wise. And I also knew this, that if it ever came right down to it my dad would lay down his life for me, and that’s the kind of president you would want, isn’t it?
“If you are a king,” the religious authorities said to Jesus, “then save yourself.” “If you are a king,” the soldiers said, “then save yourself.” “If you are a king,” the other thief said, “then save yourself.” But Jesus turned out to be the kind of king who cared more about saving others than saving himself, and so he hung there on that cross, beneath that sign (“This is the King of the Jews”), until his work was done. I don’t know what kind of king you want, but if I could choose, I would choose a king like that.
For the full text of the sermon click HERE. And if you want to write in my dad’s name next election, it’s James Somerville, no middle name.