Christ the King

2 Samuel 5:1-3
Colossians 1:12-20
Luke 23:35-43

News that King Charles may ‘trim down’ his Coronation service has prompted me to think about Kingship and what it might mean for our world today. Is it an outmoded concept? Is it something which becomes redefined with each new monarch? I don’t get very far with these ‘earthly’ questions as I realise my outlook is very biblically coloured. In the biblical world prophets and kings are chosen by God and anointed. Kings are marked with God’s seal and are tasked with the care of God’s people, from the greatest to the least.

In the Liturgy today kingship is portrayed in three different ways: David, the one chosen and anointed, Christ the Lord of all heaven and earth and Christ, the Servant King, who promises the thief paradise.

During these past weeks we have journeyed with Jesus to Jerusalem. We have seen Him as the fulfillment of all that was promised through David. As the first born of all creation He has walked among us and inaugurated the Reign of God. And now, as the journey ends, he hangs upon the cross as our Servant King.

It’s the image of the Servant King which speaks loudest to me this year. Luke’s portrayal of Jesus over these past weeks has taken us many times to the margins. There we find scenes that don’t conform to our tidy constructs of ‘who is in and who is out’. Both Jesus and the thieves now find themselves on the margins. They are outside the city walls, dying the death of the outcast and the disgraced. Into this darkness one thief speaks words of hope when he has the courage to ask to be remembered: remember me when you come into your kingdom. When Jesus replies it is with some of the most reassuring and tender words in Scripture: ‘Indeed, I promise you, today you will be with me in paradise.’ To the very last, Jesus, our Servant King, reaches out to those who find themselves on the margins.

Our Servant King walks among us today. Do we recognise him?