Sunday, November 22, 2009

“Meet Cristo Rey, He goes by Chris”

Christ The King Sunday, Nov 22, 2009, WPC Santa Fe

Can you imagine meeting Cristo Rey?   Translated: Christ the King.   
Actually, I met a young man the other day...and his name was Cristo Rey.  He went by Chris

Today Churches around the world celebrate the Reign of Christ. So, what does that mean? We don't really have kings to compare it to—as much as any of our presidents would like to act as kings, they aren't.  And Sander van Doorn, former member of this church from the Netherlands, now living in Switzerland said he was never very impressed by his monarchical figure. But as people of faith we declare: Christ is our King.  So we imagine ...  

I suppose one aspect of having a king is subjugation.  Submitting.  Bowing, if you will.  This isn’t so easy, right…I mean, we Americans don’t bow, que no? Obama clearly forgot this on his recent trip to Japan…But, Look! Christ is just there in the back, making his way down the red carpet.  What would you do? Would you bow?

 Through subjugation, we declare that we dont give allegiance to any other person, principality, or power claiming to be sovereign. But, how do we live this out?  Do we worry what others might think of us being Christian?  Are we concerned that accepting Christ as lord might make us look weak?  We’d have to accept our true selves: that we are not perfect, that we need help….

I wonder if in this encounter with Pilate, Jesus is challenging him, this proud and important person to accept himself for who he really is.  Look at Jesus, standing there before Pilate, on Trial, I guess, but we wonder who is on trial…it Jesus or Pilate? Pilate tries to catch Jesus off guard, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 
Jesus says to him, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?”  Jesus turns it around…almost as if he’s trying to get to the real Pilate, the one who in truth is utterly trapped in his desperate effort to stay in control. 
Jesus invites Pilate to be transparent, to share how it is with him, to utter the truth of his own life." 

Just like Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well at the beginning of the story—her true self-revealed, loved, and empowered—Here before Pilate, near the end of the story; he makes an offer to Pilate: “Everyone who belongs to truth listens to my voice, he says to Pilate.  An offer to be his good shepherd, when his sheep listen to his voice, they are led into abundant life.  This is always Jesus offer to any would be subjects. But to receive it means facing the truth about our lives, the truth Jesus holds up before us. It means being authentic, and then being led to abundant life. We’re not perfect, we don’t have it all together, but we can still serve. The expectation of us is not to be great, but to serve:
To love God, and neighbor. TO feed the hungry and clothe the naked.  And this means submission to our pride, and quest for power. 

Pilate refuses to face that truth. “What is truth?” Kind of blows him off…

The truth is that even though we’re not as great as we might hope others would believe, with Christ as our king it means, we still belong. The good shepherd says we belong, citizens of a new kind of kingdom.

Can you imagine meeting Cristo Rey?   Translated: Christ the King.   
Actually, I met a young man the other day...and his name was Cristo Rey.  He went by Chris

Belonging while a nice idea, is not always easy…How many of you, as kids, wanted to run away from home?  Did any of you do it? I did.  Probably about 12 years old. Frustrated with the family—two older sisters, Parents not letting me stay up as late as I wanted to—I just couldn’t take it.….  Time to hit the road. I packed up a bag with a little food and some things I thought would help me make it and headed out into the woods behind our house. Figured I’d camp out for a few days, until I was missed and appreciated.  I think I made it about an hour, maybe two, before I went back. When I got home, my mother didn’t realize I had even run away.

For many years, specialists recommended when confronted with a run-a-way child that parents and caregivers have a conversation with their child, acknowledging their frustration and then logically discuss with them where they would go and how they would live, eventually dissuading the children from running away.  It's good advice, but recently, the new recommended strategy is to flat out tell children, “No,” You may not run away because “we belong to one another”; and when persons belong to one another, even when they are frustrated and upset, they stay with one another. 

When we declare Christ as King; when we acknowledge Christ as King in our lives; we recognize that we belong, no matter what, we belong. Christ has claimed us, we stay with one another, even when there is frustration.  

Belonging is at the heart of this conversation between Jesus and Pilate.  It’s right there in the passage from Revelation.  Pilate wants to know if Jesus is king of the Jewish nation.  Jesus replies that his Kingdom is not a political reality but a theological one.  Jesus and his followers belong to a kingdom that is not of this world. Jesus and his followers belong to the truth.  And the truth is that we are freed of our sins, and loved as part of this kingdom where we belong; and we belong to one another. Belonging can be of great comfort and reassurance, it can give us courage to explore and grow in mission:
Ruby Gene often crawls off to explore, she goes some distance, maybe 10- 15 feet, but then she looks back, sees if we notice that she is so far away, just to be sure, and then she keeps going.

Belonging, can also be difficult—like any relationship.  Like kids wanting to run away because of frustration, we can get fed up with one another and with God.
Maybe we leave--for a few hours to calm nerves, for a few days, wondering if it’s going to work out. Maybe we leave permanently; or try to.  But, belonging is not so much up to us, it is up to God. Who belongs is not up to us at all, but up to God.  This what Jesus proclaims as king.

The presence of the kingdom experienced through God's invitation, healing, and restorationthe immense community “we are made to be part of”.  .  

And to feel and experience this belonging in this kingdom requires imagination. 
Subjugation and bowing to Christ the King calls for imagination.  Imagination, the last aspect of our claiming Christ as King, I want to explore with you—wonderful imaginations. 

Can you imagine meeting Cristo Rey?   
Translated: Christ the King.   
Actually, I met a young man the other day...and his name was Cristo Rey.  He went by Chris.

I wonder if many of us have forgotten how to imagine.  We leave imagination to kids stuff. We can see the world and be seduced by the lures of power; we can see the world in all it’s tragedy and be discouraged.  But, Christ the King, gives us new eyes to see a different kind of reality.  What is really real? The seen and the unseen. When Jesus stands before Pilate, what does he see? We called fisherman disciples, what did he see? Or the woman religious leaders were ready to stone, what did he see? Look!  He is coming in the clouds!  His first followers imagined!
With Imagination we can link material and spiritual, visible and invisible, earth and heaven. So often society just wants to explain what is going on, so to better handle, define, keep our feet on the ground. This is important but we also need Imagination to lift our head into the clouds; explore mystery so that we can worship and adore, exclaim and honor, follow and trust. It was at the UNM game last night where a wonderful show of imagination on display. The lobos had lost every game of the season.  They were down by a point and the other team had the ball with three minutes left.  Fans were leaving the stadium. But two players on the bench started motioning for the fans to give them a cheer.  Anyone could easily explain why they were going to loose. These players imagined a different reality. 

Can we go to the homeless shelter and see hopelessness or hope; a stranger or a brother or sister?  Can we see corruption in politics, war in so many places, environmental catastrophe and see potential for reconciliation?

Can we look at a small church community, and it’s small budget, and see not just something to be maintained, but something that exemplifies, reflects the very image of Christ; and lives in to being Christ’s hands and feet in the world. And Give THANKS!  For how much we have been given!

The beauty of the gospel: everything has its beginnings in and depends on what we cannot see and is worked out in what we can see, Imagination and Explanation in tandem with each other.”  

I was in the library when I heard the woman at the circulation desk exclaim to someone on the phone:  "things are so awesome...”
Several of us in the library turn our heads to look and see who has made such a claim, and with skepticism say, how can she say this.  And with wonder maybe ask: “Can this be true?”  It requires imagination, subjugation, and belonging.
Can you imagine meeting Cristo Rey?  
 Translated: Christ the King.   
Actually, I met a young man the other day...and his name was Cristo Rey.  He went by Chris.

No comments:

Post a Comment