Submit fully, completely, wholly, utterly, to Jesus Christ in your life. Do what he calls you to do.
In the name of the Father and of the salon of the Holy Spirit. Amen, please sit.
Our Scripture today talks of Jesus’ kingship. And we have reading from the Old Testament and from the Apocalypse from beginning to end, and with Jesus here in the Gospel saying he is King.
And of course, that is what the title Christ means. It means King. And throughout Scripture, we have example, after example, after example, of people misunderstanding what that word King means. And we do that because we are creatures of this world. We are human beings.
And so when you say King to us, we immediately think of somebody sat on a throne enshrined with a Crown and wearing lovely robes. Sat on a throne. You see where the imagery comes from. It’s that human attempt to understand Jesus Christ’s Dominion over us. So why then do we have Christ the King as a feast? Why does it exist in our Church calendar?
Because these things don’t happen by accident. It exists. In fact, it was only put into our calendar in about 1925, and the reason it got put into the calendar, it already existed prior to that. But the reason it got put here was because after the First World War, there was a great deal of theological debate about the nature of Jesus Christ and of God. As you would imagine, there would be.
After the catastrophe of the First World War, people sat down and were debating who God was. How could God allow this to happen? Who is Jesus? Why should we submit to him? And after several years of this, the Pope at the time said, you know what? Sometimes you just have to submit to Jesus.
You can sit down and you can argue theology till you’re blue in the face. You can argue about the dates of when Scripture was written. You can argue about what Pilate thought that he was doing when he released Jesus. You can argue about who said that and who said that, and when that was written and was Jesus born here? Or was he born there? Or did that happen there? Or did that happen there? And the Pope said, you know what?
This is all good. But first, the first thing you have to do is submit to Jesus Christ and His Dominion over you. The first thing that you must do as a Christian is surrender yourself wholly and fully to Jesus Christ, to fall to your knees and to hold your hands and say, Jesus, I am yours. Do with me as you will. And then through that submission, you will start to understand what it is that God wants you to do.
And so now we start to understand this earthly understanding of kingship, because that’s exactly how the world operates when the King is there, when the person is there, who is in charge. But if you don’t submit to that person, you don’t listen to what they say do you. If you don’t believe that that person is really in charge, then what they say is irrelevant. And you can have as much debate about that person as you like. But what they say is irrelevant.
And so Christ the King is about understanding our submission and complete surrender to his work in our life. And only then can we start to have the conversations and the debates about how this happened or how that happened, or we are working from that place of submission. And that is the difference between us. As Christians and historians, we are Christians. First and foremost.
I’ll give you an example of how that works out in the real world. As you all know, over the last month and a half, I’ve been on several training courses that have all got kind of pushed into the back half of this year by the pandemic. And one of the things that seems to be especially in vogue, fashionable at the moment in all of these training courses is to develop your own rule of life. So you sit down and you try and figure out how is it that I am going to live out my life as a Christian?
What rules can I put in place around my life to live as a good Christian?
And so people tend to come back with things. Well, when I get up in the morning, the first thing I’m going to do is pray. Brilliant. That’s a great rule. When I go to bed at night, I’m going to pray.
When I feel angry with somebody, I’m going to pray. And what you tend to find is that people make a rule of life that already fits their life, doesn’t challenge them in any way. So nobody says, I’m going to forgive everyone who’s done me wrong in their rule of life. They simply say, I’m going to pray for those people who have done me wrong. And so I challenged this a little bit at our last meeting, and I said, Well, here’s a rule of life from an organisation, a group of priests that I’m part of the Society of the Holy Cross. And they read it. And they were all this is really hard. How do you do this? This rule of life is really, really hard.
How do you do this? And I said, Because I submit to it, because I submit to Jesus Christ. And this is what Jesus Christ calls us to. And the barrier is here. Now, unless you submit to Jesus Christ, you’re never going to even reach or attempt to reach that barrier.
What you will say is here’s my comfortable life. Here’s my barrier. That’s as far as I’m willing to go. Well, no, that’s not good enough. That’s not what Jesus calls you to.
Jesus calls you to submit to Him and to live your life as he taught you to live it. And that is hard. And it is uncomfortable.
And so today’s feast is about this. It is about submission. And it is about doing. Do first. Learn later.
Pray first. Learn later.
Submit to Jesus Christ. Learn later.
This is why I stand here on a Sunday. This is why I send out emails and say, Come to Church, especially when you don’t want to.
Especially when you wake up on a Sunday morning and you think to yourself, oh, I can’t be bothered today. And we all wake up like that sometimes. I wake up like that sometimes. But I have submitted my life to Jesus Christ. So my legs swing over the side of the bed.
I cross myself. I say the Our Father, and I drag myself to the shower. Also, I make very strong coffee. We all find ways to do that helps us live our lives as Christians.
Submit fully completely wholly, utterly, to Jesus Christ in your life. Do what he calls you to do.
Talk about it, debate it and pull it apart later. But first of do.