Some thoughts around the Feast of Christ The King
In the past few days people have received calls from Donald Trump, inviting them to Trump Towers and they went in the expectation of receiving an appointment to his administration. He’s now in “power” and will gather around him people who seek power. He’s no different to many others in similar situations. For more than two years he has sought power, as did those who campaigned against him, for there is something in power that attracts people. That’s the way it’s always been and is certain to continue.
On the last Sunday of the Church’s Year we are given the image of Christ The King. There is little that speaks more to power than “KING” – from our childhood days we heard stories of Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses and their lifestyle. We imagined their castles, thrones, kingdoms and rejoiced with the good ones who did well by their people and hissed disapproval at the evil and warped ones who sought to make life difficult for others “Look out, he’s behind you”, was the pantomime roar. “Oh no he’s not” – “Oh yes, he is”!
Christ the King is found neither in castle or on throne. He’s crucified between two thieves. He’s mocked, jeered, spat at and offered vinegar to drink. A sign says he is “king of the Jews” but those gathered around have no regard for him or his “kingship”. It’s total humiliation. It’s awful. He is at his lowest moment and begins to doubt even the Father’s love “why have you abandoned me?”.
In the midst of all this awfulness there is a moment of light. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. How those words must have lifted his fallen spirit. In the absence of pomp and ceremony, robes and crown, someone was still able to grasp the truth. “There’s more going on here deeper than meets the eye”. What was it that sparked that moment of recognition in the “good thief”? Where did he find those words? Where did he unwrap that gift of faith that allowed him see beneath the lashes and bruising, the nails and the blood to the one beneath and above it all? Somehow he managed it! Hands tied and in undoubted pain, he realised the man beside him was more than man. He was KING! Some kings had the name of being merciful and surely he’d be numbered among them – “Jesus”, he said, “remember me when you come into your kingdom”.
His words, far from falling on deaf ears, gave hope to a dying man and helped him realise his words had not fallen unheeded to the ground. In the midst of all this hostility and hatred, there was sill hope – still faith and a desire for something better.
“Indeed”, replied the King “this day you will be with me in Paradise”.
Trump Towers or Calvary? Power is at its best in fragility and weakness for it is from these it can draw and transform people. Power, when recognised where you’d least expect it, is a special and life-altering gift.