Monday, November 24, 2008

You Got to Serve Somebody

Reign of Christ Sunday - November 23

Matthew 25: 31-40 (?)

Bob Dylan had it right when he wrote the song, “You Got to Serve Somebody”.  Human beings have a throne shaped hole in our hearts, and our lives seem less than vital and fully alive, until we get something or somebody on that throne, until we have a center to our lives that we worship and adore, we’re always a little bit lost.  That inner throne is, I believe, a gift from God, intended to bring us into relationship with the Divine. 

And there’s no doubt that when lives go horribly wrong  -  (I’m not talking difficult, here.  Difficult is part of the package.  Pain, sorrow, loss, all that.  By "wrong" I mean abuse, addiction, bullying, body -and -spirit -killing wrong) – When things get ugly and hateful  - it is because the wrong thing got put on the throne. 

That throne is meant for Christ to occupy.  That is the throne for Jesus.  We know that.  We want Christ there, reigning in our hearts.  And that’s a very good thing. 

I don’t think there is a person here this morning (though I guess you might surprise me) who doesn’t long to gather around that throne and worship Christ.  We want to bow humbly to the magnificent presence, bring him good gifts, made with our own hands.  He want to honor Christ, use our best language and our best behavior, and bask in the reflected glory of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  We’d be content to sit at his feet and share his perspective, looking down on the world below in love.  Like James Bond in those 007 movies:  At His Majesty’s Service!  Yes!

Yes.  We’d love to serve Christ the King.

But strangely enough, His Majesty’s service doesn’t happen in a royal throne room.  Jesus himself reminds us that service does not consist of saying, “Lord, Lord!” , with loud prayers of praise and self abasing expressions of piety.  

Serving this King looks like sharing a meal at a soup kitchen, 

welcoming an immigrant, 

buying a coat for a kid from the trailer park, 

outfitting a room for a homeless woman trying to get off the streets, 

visiting  Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes and drunk drivers in jail. 

Christ the King says, When you do these things, you do them to me.  He doesn’t say,  "When you do these things, I look down from my throne and smile approvingly."  He says, “You serve me.  I am enthroned in those poor, sick, hungry, cold, imprisoned ones.” 

On the Sunday in which we recognize and celebrate the Reign of Christ – this scripture reminds us that we worship a King who, above theological correctness or pious behavior or public declarations of religious fealty – is honored in acts of compassion shared with the least of God’s children. 

Praise to the Christ.  Long may he reign in our hearts and our lives.

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