Dear Friends November: Kingdom Season

Dear Friends,

Autumns colours are already giving way to winter’s as the mists hang heavy over street and field. We are passing through remembrance-tide, celebrating All Souls, All Saints, and Remembrance. Advent and preparations for celebrating the Christ-Mass beckon. The year may seem to be vanishing before our eyes!

Yet in that space the Church celebrates an unlikely season as our liturgical year draws to its close. We remember Christ the King.

http://nighthawk101stock.deviantart.com/art/Polished-Stones-115030125
Image: nighthawk101stock

Kingship is a strange idea to our modern western minds. Our monarchy is valued and celebrated but we are aware that ultimate authority does not rest with our hereditary monarch. We tend to consider other nations with ruling dynasties to be dictatorships with the assumption that they are seldom benign.



Christ’s Kingdom is different, a fulfilment of the Kingdom of David. David was a shepherd boy, who I am sure you remember defeated the mightiest military force of his time (Goliath) with five smooth stones. When Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of heaven he does not speak of courts and hierarchy but of the lowliest being brought up to the highest places, of the first being last and the last being first. Following on from the teaching of the Old Testament, the writer of the book of Hebrews confirms that within this new Kingdom we are all part of a royal priesthood. At baptism I always anoint the new member of the family of God with oil as sign and symbol, just as the Queen was anointed at her coronation. Jesus’ Kingdom includes rather than excludes. It reaches out to the streets and draws in the lost and homeless. It confronts the principalities and powers of this world with the smooth stones of service and love.

The stones that David used were washed by the living waters of a river. Later the cloud that broke the drought in Israel in the time of Elijah was ‘a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand’, suggesting a fivefold shape as much as a size. The ministries of the church are described as fivefold by St. Paul as he speaks of the episcopal ministry of apostles, the diaconal ministry of prophets and evangelists, and the priestly ministry of pastors and teachers. Where the church has hierarchy it is anchored in these small things, watered by the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps this Kingdom season we too can find 5 small things to change how we engage with the world and bring in Christ’s Kingdom? We may not all be apostles but we certainly have oversight over our own households and buying choices, how can we do so in a way that honours those less fortunate? We may not all be prophets and evangelists but can we speak out on areas of injustice and share the love of Christ with others? We may not all be pastors and teachers, but can we give more time to caring for others and teaching them by example the best way to live their lives?

Then with confidence we can pray together the words of the Lord’s Prayer, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

God bless,

Eddie

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