Rev Sue's sermon for Christ the King, 22nd Nov 2020

These are the words of Jesus at the start of his ministry

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free

 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour

 

  Jesus is setting out his agenda for his kingdom. 

  The beatitudes are his values   

and he says more than once that he expects us to take these values on board….

 

“Great blessings belong to those who know they are spiritually in need.[a]
    God’s kingdom belongs to them.
Great blessings belong to those who are sad now.
    God will comfort them.
Great blessings belong to those who are humble.
    They will be given the land God promised.[
b]
Great blessings belong to those who want to do right more than anything else.[c]
    God will fully satisfy them.
Great blessings belong to those who show mercy to others.
    Mercy will be given to them.
Great blessings belong to those whose thoughts are pure.
    They will be with God.
Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace.
    God will call them his sons and daughters.
10 Great blessings belong to those who suffer persecution for doing what is right.
    God’s kingdom belongs to them.

 

Jesus has come down to earth to save us

        to establish the kingdom of God

       and he is setting out his values very clearly.

 

These are things that are to be important in my kingdom.

These are my priorities    

    He expects His followers to help him

   and remember

 

Jesus who said ‘I am the light of the world’

I am the incarnation of God’s presence on earth 

  Later he hands this role on to his disciples saying to his followers then and us now

 

 you are the light of the world a city on a hill

you are the incarnation of god’s presence on earth

 

  wow!!

 and here at the end of his earthly ministry

he is saying

 that we will be judged on how have lived these values out

the quality of our love

 

Then the King will say to those on His right. Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me

 

 Just like the master in last week’s parable returning to see how his servants have handled his money…

 Jesus returns at the end of time to ask us how have we used the love that he has lavished on us.

 

He will want to know have we spread it around and increased it?

 

This might seem impossibly hard but for this one thing

 which is that gradually as we spend more time with him, as we try to follow him and put his teaching into practice

we become more like him.  

The posh word for this is sanctification, becoming more holy.

What it really means is we take on the character and values of Christ, so it becomes easier to live the way Jesus want us to live

 

 Does it really happen?

 Do we gradually become more like Jesus?

 yes! yes! yes!!

 One of the privileges about being a priest is that I get to see this actually happening week by week, year by year.

 You don’t realise that it is happening, but I see it in all of you.

 As I look at you all as you come to receive communion

 this passage often springs to mind.  

 It’s from Morte D’Arthur by Tennyson

 

Arthur sat

 Crown’d on a dais, and his warriors cried,

“Be thou the king and we will work thy will

Who love thee” Then the King in low deep tones,

 And simple words of great authority,

 Bound them by so strait vows to his own self,

That when they rose, knighted from kneeling, some

Were pale as at the passing of a ghost

 Some flushed, and others dazed, as one who wakes

 Half-blinded at the coming of light.

 

You are like Arthurs knights kneeling before him as a he knights them.

There is often a tangible presence of God amongst us at the Eucharist 

 

 I will continue

But when he spake and cheer’d his Table Round

 with large, divine, and comfortable words,

 Beyond my tongue to tell thee – I beheld from eye to eye thro all their order flash

 a momentary likeness of the King…… 

 

a momentary likeness of the King…… 

This is what I see Sunday by Sunday as you come for communion

This likeness is growing and growing in each one of you

  it’s what Christ our King sees too as he looks at you.

 

a momentary likeness of the King……