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?