Not sure if you saw it, but a few nights ago there was a party political broadcast for Jesus. Just kidding but just imagine for a moment if there was.
Election Fever will, I fear, build over the next few months as we prepare for the general election next May.
Each of the parties will vie for attention, every word will be picked over and analysed. Political commentators working overtime. Party Leaders will worry about what to say and do.
But let’s stay with that though of Jesus standing for election, what would his policies look like? Would we vote for Jesus? The man whom this day we acclaim as king.
In conventional terms his manifesto would look strange.
He doesn’t seem worried about money ‘sell your possessions and give to the poor’(1).
He doesn’t much care for status or palaces ‘the son of man has nowhere to lay his head’(2)
He doesn’t engage in spin for when before Pilate he could have saved himself he ‘makes no reply’(3)
He doesn’t do power instead he washes his disciples feet and talks of serving each other(4)
He doesn’t really do grand arrivals but instead is ‘born in a stable’(5).
Jesus’ manifesto looks strange yet St. Paul writes of ‘the immeasurable greatness of his power.’
A strange sort of power then is revealed in this give it away, homeless, sometimes silent, foot washing servant who is born in a shed.
Strange Power this yet Christ is the King. We’re here this morning because that’s what we believe and each of us, in our own way desires to follow this King wherever he leads us.
And as we know when we follow Christ the King we’re reminded time and again that the things we often value and think important aren’t everything, there is more.
In our first reading St. Paul writes about real power and for him, as for us, the resurrection was and is the key.
He wrote ‘God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion.’ ‘And has put all things under his feet.’
The resurrection then is the ultimate act of power. A moment in time, a revelation of God’s love which reminds us that Jesus doesn’t need an election manifesto, his power is of a different kind.
But what does that mean for us, so often caught up and seduced by this world and its desire for power?
For me at least, today is a timely reminder that whatever happens to the powers of this world, however messed up this world seems, as followers of Christ we know there is more, there is hope and these things are reflected in our living.
To follow Christ the King knowing that in time the fullness of his kingdom will be revealed and all will be well. Christ is the King, O friends rejoice.
This truth roots us, gives us security and shapes our living for as we follow Christ here and now we seek to live lives that in some sense anticipate that coming kingdom, hint at what is to come.
We see the resurrection then not just as a moment in history but as a dynamic and creative force in our lives now.
In our Gospel, Jesus’ words help us to consider what lives that anticipate his coming kingdom might look like. He invites to feed the hungry, to welcome the stranger, to give to those in need and spend time with those who are lost.
‘Truly, I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these…you did it to me.’
These words should reverberate in us as we turn our gaze to the needs of our world. We proclaim Christ as king, not only in word and as we think of our own lives but also in deed as we look at the world around us.
And thanks be to God that these deeds are amongst the things we value so highly here at St. Mary’s.
On our ‘In giving we receive’ banners, that we shall take down today, we made clear that love, care and friendship are at the heart of our life but there is always more to be done.
Today is ‘Stir up Sunday’ when we pray our wills may be just that for St. Mary’s isn’t simply a cosy club for those of us who like this sort of thing it is a place of radical transformation as we seek to serve Christ in those whom God has given us to love.
Which in some way brings me back Jesus’ election manifesto?
In conventional terms that manifesto would be a disaster, an economic policy built on sharing and giving it all away and a foreign policy that looks to the cross isn’t likely to be a vote winner.
And yet we are here because Christ is the King and in him we glimpse something deep down we desire and want, we see more.
Each one of us is caught up in the ultimate act of power that is the resurrection and invited to live that resurrection here and now as we anticipate Christ’s coming Kingdom.
The resurrection, the victory of God’s love and power is true for us not just because of history but because of what it means to us now, of the love it reveals to the world, a love that steadfastly refuses to let us go.
My prayer today is that we make St. Paul’s beautiful words our own and so as you take our Sunday sheet home, maybe you might highlight these words and pray them through this week for
‘(We) pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give (us) a spirit of wisdom and revelation as (we) come to know him,
so that with the eyes of (our) heart(s) enlightened,
(we) may know what is the hope to which he has called (us),
what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints,
and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe.’