Month: November 2016

King of Kings

11061716505_d0cd855dbc_zWhat would you do if the Queen suddenly turned up at your door? Would you invite her in? Would you kick stuff out of the way? Is your home suitable for the queen?

There has been a lot of outrage and discussion on social media over the weekend about Buckingham Palace, and the fact that it is going to be redecorated. I’m not going to get into the politics of that now, as I don’t want to offend anyone or cause upset. BUT… when we think of a King or Queen we probably automatically have an idea of the kind of place they will live in… A palace… A castle… Hundreds of rooms, filled with beautiful and historical artefacts. Afterall, they are in charge, they deserve to have the best.

As we continue to look at the idea of a King, and our King arriving in a few weeks time, we continue to question what kind of a King we are expecting.

Sunday 20th November was Christ the King Sunday, according to the liturgical calendar, so it felt only right this week to consider Jesus as the King of Kings. There is a story in Luke’s Gospel entitled ‘The Faith of the Centurion’. This is the story of a Roman Centurion, whose servant was sick and about to die. He had heard about Jesus, and sent servants to ask him to come.

A centurion was a Roman Leader, in charge of 100 soldiers. He knew what it was to be in charge, but even he, a leader, knew that he needed Jesus in this situation. He even said to Jesus “I am not worthy, but say the word and my servant will be healed”. Jesus wasn’t even within the same leadership, he was a Jew whilst the Centurion was a Roman, and still he went to him.

I think we all have a sense of self-importance at times, but actually the best leaders recognise they can’t do it on their own, but they need to seek help. This may be from others around them, it might be from God.

Our own Queen recognises that she cannot do her job alone, she says “In my first Christmas broadcast in 1952, I asked the people of the Commonwealth and Empire to pray for me as I prepared to dedicate myself to their service at my Coronation. I have been – and remain – very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for His steadfast love. I have indeed seen His faithfulness”. Jesus is the King of Kings and yet…

The thought for the week is a line from a song, and it says “King of Kings, Majesty, God of Heaven, living in me”. In a few weeks time we will be celebrating Jesus’ birth. God, becoming human, being born in a stable, living amongst ordinary people. Then… when he dies for us, and is risen, he returns to heaven, but God sends the spirit to live in us.

This God, who is King of Kings, who world leaders bow down to, is living in us. At the beginning I asked you what you would do if the Queen turned up to your house. The thing is God is living in each and everyone of us. Not with us, but in us, our bodies are a temple. When you put it like that it is quite daunting and makes me stop and think.

When people look at me do they think that God is within me?

Prayer: Thank you God that you chose to come and live amongst us, and that you continue to do so. Thank you for those world leaders who do recognise you, and walk hand in hand with you whilst they rule. We pray that we may recognise your reign in us, and reflect that to the world around us?

Challenge: How can you show that Christ is living in you? How can you welcome Christ as King?

Advertisements

King of Compassion

3190479939_ed09d7dff9_z

I love the Lion King, to be fair I love most Disney movies, but the Lion King is a particular favourite. A few years ago I got to see the performance at the theatre – oh my goodness – it was amazing! Anywho, I digress. At the beginning of the film Simba is out with his dad, who is trying to explain the importance of being a king. Simba, being a typical child, wasn’t really paying much attention. Simba then goes out with his friend Nala and sings the song “I just can’t wait to be king”. Some of the lines include

“I’m going to be a mighty king, so enemies beware… I’m going to be the mane event like no king was before, I’m brushing up, on looking down, I’m working on my roar… oh iI just can’t wait to be king… no one saying do this… no one saying be there… no one stop that… no one saying see here… free to run around all day, free to do it all my way”

Sorry I got slightly distracted! Simba had a very interesting idea of what being a king was going to be like. If you were going to be king or queen, would you expect to be in  your palace being served or would you expect to be out with the lowly folk? What Simba’s dad had been trying to explain to him was that his role as king was to understand the importance of all the animals, including the ones he ate. The Ida that every animal had a role to play in the circle of life – I’d better stop talking abut the lion king now, I just keep going into song!

We often have this idea of a king being someone who is high and mighty, but also acts in that way as well. But this week we are looking at Jesus being a King of Compassion. That really isn’t a word that we would normally associate with a king, and yet it is what God throughout time has shown, and, especially what Jesus showed when he was man on earth.

Psalm 145:8 says “the Lord  is gracious and compassionate; slow to anger and abounding in love”. First of all, when we talking about the Lord being gracious we mean that God gives us things that we don’t deserve, because he wants to. The world didn’t need to be created so beautifully, and yet it was… the Lord didn’t have to give the people in the Old Testament opportunities time after time when they went against him, and yet he did… the Lord didn’t have to come to earth as a human and die an agonising death in order that everyone’s sins may be forgiven, and yet he did. So there are plenty of examples of God showing grace but what about compassion?

To be compassionate means to show concern for others. This doesn’t just mean to recognise when people are struggling but also to act upon it as well. As we saw with graciousness  above, God didn’t just look over things, he did something about it. Jesus was the perfect example of compassion. He showed concern for others, and he did this by helping them. Speaking to those who were outcast by society, healing the sick, practically helping people out. This wasn’t done out of duty, out of wanting to look good as a king, but it was done purely out of love, which will lead to compassion.

After a long time away from the life he knew, being quite selfish and living life according to the two words “hakuna matata” Simba hears what is happening and returns home. He see what his uncles selfish desires have led to, and he tries to restore the circle of life. It would have been so easy for him to stay away, but he recognised his role as king. He couldn’t run away any more, he had to stop being selfish, he had to act.

We are faced with so many stories, everyday, of people who need our help. On Friday it will be children in need, which means a lot of videos which will inevitably end up in tears. It is impossible to help everyone, Jesus didn’t help everyone, but he did help some. Compassion doesn’t have to be anything grand, it can be a smile, a kind word, offering to carry something, lending someone a pen, telling someone older if you can see that someone is struggling but you can’t help practically yourself.. We all have something offer, we can all recognise when someone is struggling the question is what can you do? How can you show compassion in the way that Jesus did?

Prayer: thank you God that you are gracious and compassionate. Slow to anger and abounding in love. May we take your example, and try to show these qualities in our lives as well. Amen.

Challenge: think of one person or group of people that you are concerned about. How can you help them?

 

King of Sacrifice

6906665986_55dc4a83b8_z

This week we continue to look forward to the coming of Jesus, as the king. This week, we are focusing on the idea of Jesus as the King of sacrifice.

On Friday it is Remembrance Day, a day where we remember all those who have given their lives in war, in order that we may have the freedom that we have today. The thought for the week is from John Maxwell Edmonds and it says

“When you go home tell them of us and say “for your tomorrow we gave our today””

What a powerful message, the greatest idea of sacrifice, giving a life for the lives of others. I have the discussion about war with many of my classes, talking about whether it is a good or a bad thing. I’m not sure anyone would any it is a good thing, but sometimes it is possible to see that it is a necessity. How can it be necessary? To stop atrocities that are happening in other places, where people’s human rights are being taken away from them. Things that we take for granted… education, food, freedom. The universal declaration of human rights came out as a result of the Second World War, in order that hopefully no humans would ever be treated in the same way that the Jews, and many other groups, were during the holocaust.

Christians believe that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, he had done nothing wrong, and yet he gave his life, in a most brutal way, in order that all may have a relationship with God, and that all may have eternal life.

Sacrifice… the idea of sacrifice in war, and the acrid ice of Jesus, are pretty big examples of sacrifice. It is very easy for us to think that there is no way we could ever give that kind of sacrifice. But we can take these examples to encourage us to sacrifice on a daily basis. Sharing your lunch because someone has forgotten theirs; stopping to check if someone is ok because they look upset, even if you are in a rush; offering to help carry something, even though it’s out of your way; some of your pocket money to buy a poppy.

Sacrifice doesn’t have to be an entire life, but it should have an impact on your life. You may only think about what you are giving up, but think about how what you are giving up is giving an element of life to someone else.

Prayer: Thank you God that you gave the perfect example of sacrifice in Jesus. Thank you for the people who have given their lives in order that we may have the life we know today. May we be willing to sacrifice things in our lives, to enhance the lives of others. Amen

Challenge: Think about what you can do this week that may ‘put you out’ but will benefit others.