Monday, November 25, 2013

Live by a King

Women of Faith:

“Let us give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.  He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God,  ….He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  He is the head of the body, the church. ….  For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven” Col 1: 12-20
Yesterday we celebrated “Christ the King” Sunday. The readings point to what it takes to be a great king, with a great kingdom, and why we should want to seek these same “kingly” characteristics and follow such a king.

The kings examples make us ‘fit to share in their inheritance’ (make us feel like them), they ‘deliver us from darkness’ (give us wisdom), and they ‘are the head of all:’ bringing fulfillment, reconciliation, peace and unity.
Many of the Old and New Testament readings are drawn as parallels—so that we can learn to be better Christians by their contrasts, their examples and the outcomes of each.

“In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said: "Here we are, your bone and your flesh.  In days past, when Saul was our king, it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.  And the LORD said to you, 'You shall shepherd my people Israel and shall be commander of Israel.'"  When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron, King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD, and they anointed him king of Israel”. 2 Sam 5: 1-3
King David formed a covenant with God. And because of this covenant God protected him and the people, allowing a great military to be built, the tribes to be unified, and the economy to thrive. They were “one nation, under God.”

King David was a great king because he knew WHO to promise his life and livelihood to (covenant), WHO to trust and WHO to obey. And under his reign He did not stray from the important principals of trusting and obeying God, and he was allowed to bring the people under his authority to that same trust and obedience.
Unfortunately, the kings who followed David weren’t as trusting or obedient. They thought they knew better than David so they formed their own gods, made themselves gods by the creation of idols, and created their own sets of rules. They neither fully obeyed, nor fully trusted God. And eventually the holdings of the Promised Land which King David had unified were divided and reduced to fragments of their former greatness.

“The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God."  Even the soldiers jeered at him.  As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself."  Above him there was an inscription that read, "This is the King of the Jews." Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us."  The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Lk 23: 35-43
Because of God’s mercy He then sacrificed His son, Jesus Christ, to save and unify us by forming the Church to guide us.

And Christ showed us a new example of obedience and trust: not by saving himself but by being mocked, ridiculed, and even dying on the cross for our sins. His new way was not like the power and authority of King David, but in the service of self giving love. His death on the cross returned to us not the promised land (physical), but the promise of Paradise (eternal).
Both Kings made their people FEEL like Kings. Both trusted that they had the power of God behind them. Both obeyed God’s laws and did not take the power and control into their own hands as they were tempted. Both gave up their lives in service to God.

And in turn both received back from God: unification of the Promised Land, unification of the people (the Church) and resurrection to the Promised Eternal and unified Paradise.
Am I willing to trust and obey to the same extent? Is the promise to be unified with God as awe inspiring today as it was then? Or am I tempted by the world’s promises of riches and materialism?

Remarkably I see a similar parallel to King David’s time in the formation of the United States which was built into a powerful and great country because of our forefathers (the Kings) who had a desire to trust and obey God’s commandments and protect our faith beliefs ( the freedom of religion.)
We became a country of people UNDER GOD (our Constitution), who trusted and cared for the exiled (formed by the acceptance of immigrants) and who’s economy and wealth was built by serving each other using our talents and treasures wisely and obediently (think of the first Thanksgiving.)

And unfortunately I would say that the division in our country and the world is a repetition of history: dysfunction caused by a similar disobedience and lack of trust in God’s plan. We are either a part of the problem (to become our own law), or a part of the solution (to be UNDER God.) We cannot be both.
Heavenly Father, King of All, You have promised us a share of Your inheritance. Help me to trust in the hope of Your promises and guided by Your examples of Kingship. Give me patience and tolerance in seeking to understand and grow in the knowledge of Your Church. May I find unity with You through obedience of your commandments. And protect and guard me from being led astray by the kings of the principalities and powers who tempt me with the fleeting happiness of worldly righteousness. Amen.

Do I love and serve others as Jesus commanded and am I willing to give up my life without regard to my own comfort, trusting that God will provide for and protect me? Will I courageously stand to protect my freedom to practice my faith under God?
Live by the King’s rule,

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