This Sunday is Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday of the church calendar year. The Sunday following Christ the King is the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the church year.
The Gospel lesson for this Sunday is the story/event of Jesus dying on the cross alongside two criminals. He is wearing a crown, but it is a crown of thorns. He is raised up, but not on a throne, on a cross. And it is in his dying words, his dying intimacies, that we get a glimpse of his kingdom.
Luke, the master Gospel writer, concludes the life of Jesus with this last conversation between Jesus and a criminal, both condemned to die. A conversation between a man who embodies the love of God and a criminal who does not. The criminal asks Jesus to simply remember him (for him this is enough). Jesus answers with absolute Grace, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Jesus gives Grace, Love and Forgiveness with no strings attached and with no special conditions that must be met.
The writer of Luke concludes the story of Jesus as he has all along, that the first shall be last and the last shall be first, the hungry have been fed, the prisoners have been released and the poor have heard good news. This is the reality of the kingdom of God. This is the kingdom that Jesus the Christ reigns over. This is the has already but not yet and still will be fulfilled kingdom of God.
So, what are we going to do with all this Grace, all this Forgiveness, and all this Love.
See you in Church, Interim Pastor Craig Storlie