Today Christians celebrate the feast of Christ the King. Americans don’t experience the reality of kings in our world too much any more. We find them more on the Hallmark channel on television. We modern types are more used to “Captains of Industry” and celebrities who have a lot of money. Thus, it is a bit difficult to conjecture Jesus the Christ as what he is now being called as “King of the Universe.” I was struck in today’s lectionary readings by the addition of the universe to that title. I don’t recall that designation – even though it was somehow assumed. Perhaps it’s because we have become conquerers not only of our entire world but of outer space as well…(Perhaps the title has been like that all along and I just didn’t notice).
Here’s the great question though. What kind of king is Christ? “Like a shepherd,” the prophet Ezekiel says, “I will look after and tend my sheep, giving them rest.” (34:11-17) And the psalmist chimes in with that well-known, comforting Psalm 23, saying to us: “There is nothing I shall want. He leads me, guides me, refreshes my soul.” And if that is not enough, Jesus himself gives the invitation when speaking to his disciples – to us. You can find it in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 25. Listen today as if you were in the presence of Jesus, the Shepherd King, who is telling you what is expected of you.
...For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me…Whatever you did for these least brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
Nothing monumental, just the right thing: caring for each other in the basic needs of life. In other words: Take care of each other. Love as I have loved you. That’s the kind of king we have – and today we’re asked again to become like him.