Reign of Truth – Episcopal Cafe


John 18: 33-37

In 1925, the fires of the First World War were still smoldering in the memory of those who survived it. Yet, even with the memory of suffering and destruction still alive in the minds of millions of people on three continents, nationalism and fascism began to grow in Europe, political movements that conquered power by dividing people into winners and losers, who sought to take over the right to empire as the natural order of mankind.

In this context, the feast of Christ the King was proclaimed for the first time. It is a feast that invites us to remember whose, exactly, we are and the real power to which we owe our allegiance.

In the Gospel for this coming Sunday, Jesus is surrendered to the authority of the kingdom, but resists its dominance. Jesus is literally telling the truth by force. Governments rise and fall as a work of human purpose, but Christ’s rule is eternal.

The reading of the gospel consists of three questions of Pilate. Let’s look at the actual statements of Jesus in our gospel. It is noticeable that Jesus does not answer any of Pilate’s three questions – indicating that Jesus refuses to shy away from human power. Instead, he cites one positive thing about himself: while dismissing questions about Jesus possessing political power, he claims to have the role of a witness – a witness who testifies to the truth.

Jesus’ kingdom, however, is not geographically limited to a particular place, or even a particular nation, which is why he may refuse to call himself the “King of the Jews.” As Jesus repeatedly reminds us, especially in the Gospel of John, the commandments or laws of Jesus’ kingdom are not based on maintaining order or spreading power, but on love (see John 13: 34-35; John 14: 15-31; John 15: 9. -19). And not only on the love of God, but on the love of one another.

In our world today we remain hovering, deprived, cynical and tired. Just like Pilate, we often try to preserve our own empires, our own buildings, and the walls we tell ourselves are there for our protection and safety. But really, these kingdoms and walls only block the light, hope and peace that Jesus, by offering himself to us, offers to the whole world. No exceptions.

One of the key signs that someone is living under the oppressive zeal of the empire is the realization that the values ​​of powers and principalities depend on fabrications, slander and subterfuge. Injustice prevails by convincing the comfortable that if they dare to oppose injustice, they will only succeed in being at the mercy of the ruthless. It is not in vain that one of the ancient pseudonyms for Satan is the “prince of lies”. We spend too many lives in the realm of slander and the realm of avoidance, the realm of slander, the realm of deception. Jesus offers us true freedom only if we can get rid of the fear that leads us to agree.

One of my favorite TV shows is Ted Lasso. In one episode, a smart therapist repeats this mantra: “The truth will set you free. But first, he will [tick] you are leaving. ”

Jesus ’truth is not of this kind, although He certainly wants to set us free. The truth of Jesus was stated earlier when Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Above all earthly maneuvers for power, exploitation or domination, this truth will set you free, and give you life, joy and community. That is the truth about the life of Jesus. He invites us to be the best version of ourselves because he knows we are such created to be all the time. He has faith in us and invites us to believe in ourselves that a better path is possible, through Christ’s touch full of love, healing, and renewal within our deepest being.

This is the truth witnessed by Jesus ’life, death, and resurrection: God is love, and those who follow Jesus’ path walk and live and move in and through and out of love for God, but also, and this is the harder part, animated to live and breathe and speak love for each other. Especially the ones we believe are outside our comfort zone.

Jesus ’way was a threat to the power and empires of the world. Yet from time to time, Jesus ’followers have been tempted to claim that Jesus’ kingdom is in this world, to claim that Jesus loves the same few people he loves and hates the same people we fear or despise. But Jesus is not about power, but about service.

As St. Paul repeatedly insisted, Jesus emptied himself of all the privileges and powers he had from the beginning of time to enter the world as the weakest thing of all: a little baby born of a poor mother could not be found on the map by many, not even today. Jesus represents the power of love, the power of trust. And I’m not sure it’s less rebellious today than it was 2000 years ago.

Do we dare to allow Jesus to rule in our hearts in such a radical, incredible way? Do we dare to transform ourselves into disciples who celebrate Christ’s kingdom of love, compassion, and healing?

It begins with witnessing to the truth, with our Savior and Sovereign.

Rev. Leslie Scoopmire is a writer, musician and priest in the Diocese of Missouri. She is the high priest of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Ellisville, MO. She publishes prayers and sermons on her blog Abiding In Hope, and collects spiritual writings and images in songs, psalms, and prayers.

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