Readings: Lectionary Year A, Christ the King
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 – God promises a righteous leader for God’s people
Ephesians 1:15-23 – Paul reminds his readers that Christ is supreme over all
Matthew 25:31-46 – Jesus lays out criteria for judgement when he returns
This rather static image is perhaps like the formal photographs after a wedding ceremony, and before the party starts! The Bible’s descriptions of Christ’s reign are vivid and dynamic: this window picks up on many Biblical symbols.
Some thoughts on the readings
– God through Ezekiel condemns those who “push with flank and shoulder, and butt at all the weak animals with their horns” and yet our whole economic system rewards the ruthless, and places no value on human flourishing. We may feel powerless to change this, but we aren’t. At very least, we can pray!
– In 1st Century Palestine, sheep and goats looked almost identical. The judgement Jesus describes doesn’t happen on outward appearance, but on the motivation of the heart. Compassion must be second nature to God’s people.
Suggestions for further Bible reading
Revelation 4:1-11 John’s vision of Christ reigning is anything but static. It’s the source for lots of Christian imagery, including the rainbow in the window overleaf and the words of many hymns.
John 10:11-16 Jesus is the Good Shepherd: descendant of King David, and God in person come to shepherd God’s flock, as promised through Ezekiel.
Psalm 9 The psalm looks forward to God judging all nations with equity.
Do any other Bible passages come to mind when you read today’s readings?
Points for Prayer
– Give thanks that all authority in the universe is given to the same Jesus who was willing to sacrifice himself for humanity. We can trust Christ the King to judge with righteousness and to rule with wisdom and compassion.
– Pray for those in positions of authority and leadership. Ask God to give them that same wisdom and compassion, and to remove those who will not listen.
– Pray for a renewal of the church. Ask that all Christians will be known for unselfish acts of kindness, and that others will turn to God as a result.
Points for Action
– As the weather grows colder, homeless people become more vulnerable: do something to help today. There is much competing advice, but giving to a charity such as Shelter (http://www.shelter.org.uk) is always a good option.
– At Christmas, people are much more likely to accept an invitation to church than at other times of year: start planning who you will invite.