Not My King?
There’s a great scene in “Monty Python’s Holy Grail” in which King Arthur, travelling across the English countryside, encounters two peasants working in a field. Arthur is on a quest to find knights to join him on his quest to find the Holy Grail, so he asks the man and woman the name of the knight who lives in the nearby castle. The peasants inform him that no one lives there and that they don’t have a “lord.” They have their own little system of government that seems to work for them. Arthur insists that he is, in fact, their king and that they ultimately owe their allegiance to him.
“Who are you then?” the woman asks.
“I am your king,” Arthur replies.
“Well I didn’t vote for you!” she retorts.
“You don’t vote for kings.”
“Well, how did you become king, then?” she asks; and Arthur tells the tale of the Lady of the Lake, Excalibur, and the divine rights of medieval kings. The people continue to disagree, and the king rides off, frustrated.
Now, most of the guys of a certain age here will laugh at that movie, and the silliness of government is ridiculed throughout the film; but is it far from truth?
Think about how we react after elections – when “our side” loses. Many times, I have seen pickets and hear shouted slogans declaring “Not my president!” when people disagree with the person in office. It doesn’t change the reality, right? Like him or not, Donald Trump is objectively our president. The same was true of Obama; and it will be true of the next person. Just because we disagree with them, they remain the one in charge.
Today, we celebrate the solemnity of Someone we didn’t vote for: Christ the King. Now, I doubt there are any of us here who would ever say Jesus is not our King – whether we choose or not. However, there are times in all of our lives when our actions and attitudes declare, “Well I didn’t vote for you!” or “Not myKing!” We know that, objectively, whether anyone likes it or not, Jesus is the King of the Universe. This is our faith. But, is He also subjectively our King – I mean, on a personal level, is Christ the King of my universe - or am I?
Like I said, objectively, Jesus is certainly King; but if I make time to scroll through Facebook but not time to pray regularly, then He is not my King. If we make time to get our kids to soccer, ballet, cheerleading, birthday parties, and the like, but not time to get to church on the weekend, He is not our King. If we condemn abortion as evil but then do nothing to ease the fear and hardship of a girl in a crisis pregnancy, then He is not our King. If we ask God to forgive us but continue to hold grudges against others, then He is not our King.
Pilate didn’t see a king in front of him as he sat in judgement over Jesus. He saw a man -a weak, beaten man – who was inconvenient to everyone. But Christ’s kingdom does not belong to this world; it is, in fact, out of this world. He is King of it all – of the Universe – and if we claim Him as our King, then our lives have to be out of this world too. They should attract attention; they will be inconvenient – it others and to ourselves – and we will not only know that Christ is the King, but we will know that He is our King.
“Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” This truth is not a matter of personal interpretation, point of view, or choice. This truth is theTruth. We are not called upon to vote for our King; we are called to embrace being subjects of the King who suffered and died for us – the One who is King now and forever. Whether people accept that or not changes nothing. Rather, they will eventually know that same truth – “even those who pierced him,” even those who ignored Him, even those whose lives contradict His message of love, compassion, and sacrifice.
Let us live our lives with integrity that embraces Jesus as our King – when it is convenient and inconvenient, when we can andwhen we find it hard, wherever we are. This is our call as disciples, so that we can make our King known to the world.