Christ the King - it is easy to think of this as a big propping up of Jesus. It is a lot more than crowning Christ and imagining him on a throne.
The first reading, from 2 Samuel, reminds us of the great King David. Now if you recall, David, did not come from any royal line, he was chosen, the ruddy cheeked shepherd boy who will lead Israel.
Jesus. A savior. A king. Born in a manger.
In the second reading we hear many things, but this jumped out at me:
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
That is Christ - the head of the Body, in him all things, held together.
Ultimately we get to Luke's Gospel to crown this Sunday with typically antithetical wisdom. We are presented with the cornerstone of Jesus' triumphant kingship... The Cross. There can be no kingdom without the Cross. The way we live out this magnificent gift is in the tension between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Without it, there is no king!
And what does our King do? Does Jesus wield his power with cruelty or with love? As he "hung among the thieves" (again - what kind of king?) Jesus continues to transform with love saying that "today" they will be together in paradise. No waiting, just mercy, just hope, justice.
That's our king - not from a royal line that makes any sense, not isolated and alone on his throne with a court before him, not sending people out but rather bringing people in.
No wonder he was killed. No wonder we love him so.
(I was so happy to hear that we sang this as our closing hymn this weekend!)