Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Christ the King was the theme for this sunday in the church calendar the week before the start of Advent. Preparing for the sermon I spent a fair bit of time on youtube looking up clips. Type in coronation and you come across a assortment of things from coronation street to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II to Narnia and the Lion King. There are many different symbols of a kings power They include the crowns, sceptres, orbs, rings, swords

I really love it when the congregation become part of the sermon and shout out what they are thinking.  They question I asked 

What do you think of when you see a  crown.  

Ok so theres always one and the pub was mentioned :)

A crown is a symbol of power and authority.
Now there was a young prince who had a idea about what power and authority meant  when he became the King of the Beasts. In the film the "Lion King?" the young prince Simba sings the song  "I Just Can't Wait to Be King."  one of the reasons why Simba was so anxious to become king was that he didn't want anyone telling him what to do. He didn't want to hear anyone saying, "do this" or "stop that." He wanted to be free to run around all day doing everything his way.
It wasn't just that Simba didn't want anyone to tell him what to do, he was also looking forward to telling everyone else what to do. Just listen to what he says! "I'm gonna be a mighty king so enemies beware! I'm gonna be the mane event like no king was before. I'm brushing up on looking down. I'm working on my ROAR! Oh, I just can't wait to be king!"

A King ruling telling people what to do we see in a lot of films and on the TV no one daring to tell them what to do..

But the Kingship of Christ is so very much different to this picture and the symbols are somewhat different.....

Crown not of gold or silver but of Thorns
This is a reminder of Good Friday, but that wasn’t really a great day for Jesus, was it?  I mean, he was arrested, he was yelled at and hurt, and things just got worse.  Not exactly the glorious kind of day that we usually hear about with kings.

  palm branch or palm cross

The triumphal entry into Jerusalem  People where lining the street and cheering for him, and putting palm branches and cloaks on the ground in front of him.  yet he entered on a donkey a borrowed one not a large powerful horse decked out in the Kings colours.

the bowl and towel? 

Jesus took of his shirt knelt down and did what the lowest servant in the house would be expected to do.  Thats not the behaviour of a King...  They should have been washing his feet. I’m come on anyone who’s a rich have servants to do this sort of thing to, well they did at downtown Abbey and they weren’t Kings and Queens

When we look at Jesus He’s not the kind of King that we typically think of or expect.  He had no elaborate decorated crown and robe. No palace or carriage. The signs of His Authority and Kingdom turn our image upside-down

 The important things in Jesus’ kingdom are not wealth and power, but love and mercy.  In that kingdom Jesus makes the perfect king.  Jesus is even the king over death!  Yes, he died on Good Friday, but he was raised to life on Easter!  So, on this Christ the King Sunday we celebrate the Kingdom of God, and the promise of mercy and love for all.

So as we draw toward advent and the celebration of Christ stepping into the world what image of Him do you carry is it still one of a harmless innocent baby or of the Servant King 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Laying down picking up

Pick up sticks, and age old game that I introduced to one of the junior schools that I go into. It's strange how in the age of the Xbox and other interactive gadgets  this simple game has captured the imagination of so many children. I started with two boxes of these sticks and have since expanded to six. 

To play pick up sticks you first have to lay them down.  Theres two ways of this. Laying the down as precisely as you can so they land neatly. That isn't always the easiest of things. They fall how they want to no matter how you try to get them to land . The other option is just letting go and dropping them not caring how they land. 

It's is not just with this children's game we put things down in these two ways. Our gifts, talents, Ministry , Call and even friends and family. 

We can lay things on a alter before God to leave them in His care gently with care not knowing if or when we may return to lift them back up again. The other option is to almost just drop them like the sticks, not bothering. Laying things down comes through differing reasons but how we respond to the reasons really matters. 
 Its possible that both of these actions are done through anger or despair through struggle. 

Sometime ago it the second option seemed the best choice, not just throwing it down but throwing back at God rather than to  lay things down through prayer. The process was one of not wanting to use or have the call and gifts to go with that. At the time there seemed no way out of the situation that was engulfing  everything. There was no joy or life in the gift something that was once enjoyed now was a chore. 

This week the gift and call that was thrown down in anger and hurt was gently if somewhat scarily given back. 

Picking that gift back up started with the preparation a couple of weeks ago. What was amazing was the way in which the enjoyment of the preparation that revitalises and refreshes came flooding back. 

 This week a fresh and new understanding of the words of Jesus 'I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly' (John 10:10) opened up for the first time since throwing down that gift and call once again life felt truly full.