A Sermon Preached On
Christ the King: The Sunday Before Advent
Sunday, November 24, 2019, 11:00 am
also being The Fourth Sunday in a Season of Visioning
at the Anglican Church of St Thomas, Kefalas, Crete, Greece.
Somewhat expanded and changed since it was preached.
This is the Fourth Sunday in our Season of Visioning. It is a season in which we pray and reflect, and open ourselves to the Holy Spirit. Here again is this Venn diagram:
You’ll recall last week I told the story by Ian Dingwall:
When I was a young priest in Vancouver there was a Sunday School teacher in my parish who was talking to a group of pre-adolescents. She was saying, “Well, boys and girls, I was in Stanley Park the other day, and as I was walking though the forest and the giant redwoods and Douglas firs, I saw a rustling among the bushes. I walked over to it, and as I got closer I saw what it was. Do you know what I saw, boys and girls?” I think she was talking about a rabbit, but before anybody could say anything one child said, “It was Jesus. Its always Jesus!”
Its always Jesus! Well, who is Jesus for us? Here, in no particular order, is what the congregation said:
- miracle worker
- rod of Jesse
- firstborn of creation
- divinely inspired man
- the suffering servant
- Word of God made flesh
- a rebel put to death
- an icon
- an indigenous man put to death by a colonizing empire
- an historical figure
These descriptions, categories, and names, as powerful as they are for us, do not encompass who Jesus was, for he transcends and escapes any bounds or boxes we might put him in. Part of the challenge of bringing God’s story to others, and seeing where it intersects with our own as individuals and churches or communities, is that we can never quite sum him up. There is always more to be said, and what has already been said is found to be paradoxical (a father and a brother??? human and divine???) or contradictory. Jesus subverts our seemingly concrete categories and ways of thinking.