Sunday 21st November 2021, Canon Marion Russell

Christ the King, Sunday 21 November 2021. Canon Marion Russell

Today being the 3rd Sunday of the month, we have opportunity for a different ‘sermon’ experience. You are welcome to consider all the options offered here, or only some, whatever will give you space to ponder and ask more of what it means when we consider Christ the King, described elsewhere in the Bible as King of kings and Lord of lords.  Here are the readings for today, and two photographs. 

The first photo is of a painting by Charles Butler in 1916, a rather significant period in history when he painted this profound theme of Christ the King when the world was caught in the midst of devastating war. The kings portrayed in this painting are those of the contemporary period in a range of current and historical dress and bowing before the Risen Christ who stands in front of the cross while the devil, defeated, cowers behind it.

 

See how the glory of the earthly rulers is displayed and how they respond to the Risen Christ.  

The second photo is of the mosaic on the altar, normally covered and revealed today to mark this festival of Christ the King. 

In the mosaic, why do you think we only have a bust of Christ portrayed?  What surrounds him?As you look at both photos, you may want to consider where the light shines, how the glory of Christ is conveyed, what draws to you look and ponder more deeply, and anything that puzzles or troubles you. 

Alongside the photos, or separately if you prefer, consider the words of both readings. You may have questions of your own to ponder, or you may want to consider these as starting points. 

Psalm 93

The Majesty of God’s Rule

The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
    the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength.
He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
    your throne is established from of old;
    you are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
    the floods have lifted up their voice;
    the floods lift up their roaring.
More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
    more majestic than the waves of the sea,
    majestic on high is the Lord!

Your decrees are very sure;
    holiness befits your house,
    O Lord, for evermore.

  • Which words stand out to you in the psalm?  
  • Do these words encourage you, or do you want to argue with them? 
  • Are there circumstances in your life as it is presently that you want to bring to this majestic king of the psalm? 
  • How do you want the King to demonstrate his power and strength in our world today? 
  • How would you write your own psalm? 

John 18:33-37

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 34 Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 35 Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36 Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ 37 Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’

  • Think about how Jesus, in his mock trial before Pilate, just before his crucifixion, at first doesn’t agree with or deny Pilate’s question, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
  • Who do you say Jesus is? How would you answer Pilate’s question to him, from where you are now? 
  • What does it mean to you, or what questions are you asking, when you read of Jesus saying, “I am a king........ My kingdom is not of this world,” and it is for this he was born? 
  • In what way does it touch you to read of truth and listening to Jesus’ voice? Does this bring comfort of challenges – or both? 

 

Finally a question for each of us individually: 

Where do I bow before Christ the King, the one who died for us and is risen for us? What are my sorrows and regrets, where is my gratitude and thanksgiving? How does that lead me to trust in Him with love?