IF IT WERE, MY FOLLOWERS WOULD
with Rev. Rachel
36 IF IT WERE, MY FOLLOWERS WOULD John 18
I can give you more than one good reason to care less about this Sunday. (1) It is Christ the King Sunday and it is in the DNA of Americans to say no thank- you to kings. [See First Continental Congress.] (2) Pope Pius XI initiated it. Protestants are therefore exempt. (3) Naming Christ as “king” buys into hierarchical ways of imagining good order that can finally only be maintained by force (M.H. Shore).
That’s called naming the resistance; which we talked a bit about that this week at Roslyn, those of us participating in the Virginia Clergy Leadership Program.
Resist. Hold the king stuff at arm’s length. Deem it irrelevant. After considering that Scripture almost never calls Jesus “king” except in the context of his downfall.
A red flag rises, light flashes, the signal is sent: God is fixing to take an idea with which we are familiar and turn it inside out. It’s called gracious subversion. Jesus is a king. Which means there’s a kingdom. But it’s tied up, not with kicking butt and taking names, but with truth.
Truth—what is truth? Pilate’s question may also be ours (v.38).
It is the truth about the kingdom of God. And it is the truth about this world and its subjection to the powers of evil. It is the truth about how people will be saved from the violence of this world by a transformation of their spirit, by believing in the power of the Spirit (T. Boomershine).
It’s also the truth about how Jesus will allow the kingdom to be defined. Because Peter put away the sword, after Jesus made it clear that disciples were not security guards (Jn 18:10), Jesus could say to Pilate: My followers tell you what you need you to know about the nature of my rule.
That was then. How about now? It’s one of the questions posed by this Sunday. And it’s a good one. If how we live life together is what Jesus allows to define the reign of God, family, how are we doing? Standing there before Pilate, can he still point to us?