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November 26, 2019

Scripture Colossians 1:3-20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:15-16 NRSV

The online streaming media service, Netflix, has released Season 3 of “The Crown,” depicting the life of Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family of England. Among the attractions for viewers are the wealth and luxury that surround the royal family; but, the series also reveals the human qualities which these fellow human beings share with us all. Their position is unique: Their imperfections are in a setting that is held to a level of near-perfection and exposed to continuous public review and criticism.

A royal setting overlays the faith formation for many of us who are products of Sunday school and Vacation Bible School. Because of this conditioning, it is easy to visualize Christ and God in a similar setting of a royal throne and a crown, but amid the clouds or whatever conception of heaven we hold. Certainly, there is language like this throughout the scriptures, but the relationship of God with us is more complicated than that, and the primary example is that of Christ himself. Christ, who was both fully human and fully divine, came into the world in a humble, very non-royal setting in Bethlehem. As he grew, Jesus of Nazareth was reared by earthly parents, taking on the responsibilities of adult life.

But, as he neared age thirty he took up his call in a very special way and set himself apart from everyone with his ministry, his words, his healing, and his insights into faith, spiritual meaning, worship, compassion, and an unflagging dedication to the work of God. He lived as a humble servant: apart from the crowd, but accessible. He lived in a special role as a servant to all: washing the feet of his disciples, but also able to heal and inspire them and others through God’s power that resided in him. His extraordinary life ended in confrontation with religious and political authority. Crucified as an enemy of the government, God conquered death and resurrected Jesus.

As the Risen Christ, he holds power over all authorities. His kingship is without equal and remains beyond all earthly powers. And, because of God’s power Jesus remains the Good Shepherd, the role in which writer and editor Jill Duffield tells us, he “tends to the weak, rescues the lost, comforts those who mourn and binds up the brokenhearted and in so doing reveals the transformative power of God. We are called to do likewise, revealing to others who really holds power over us.” (Presbyterian Outlook)

And, that is the real kingship of Christ, who rules with untold power over all the world, especially in our living.

Stan Reid


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