Thursday, April 10, 2014

CP 244 What manner of king is this?



CP 244 What manner of king is this?

We need a king.
Almighty God, send a king, a real king… now… please?

Not just any old king.
Send a liberty-bringing king.
Send a leader who has power and might,
a warrior king of strength and courage.
           
We want a king who heals the sick,
who relieves the burdened and comforts the afflicted,
who restores sight and opens ears.
But, Lord our God, we need a messiah king.
We need a king who can overcome
the inner-tyrannies which beset us.
Our hearts betray us.
Our actions and inactions condemn us.
Our shame crushes us.
Our guilt crucifies us.

 The enemy is too strong for us.
We cannot withstand his relentless accusations.
His darkness overwhelms us.
A tyrant holds the keys to our miserable lives.
We can scarcely breathe in his suffocating embrace.
Are we to be consigned to death?

Lord of heaven and earth,
we have waited so long.
Hear our cry. Kyrie eleison! Have mercy!
We long for freedom. We ache for it.
Send your king soon, Lord. Send him now.
When Lord, when?

Listen! Did you hear it?
A voice, from ancient times…
“Behold your King comes to you…”

Listen! I hear noise. Do you hear it?
Crowd noise. Rolling crowd. Excited crowd.
Loud. Swelling. Roaring.
Closer and closer.

The crowd finds common voice,
common praise and joy.
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna to the Son of David.”

Our king comes… riding on a donkey?
Jesus of Nazareth?
Is this your man, Lord?
Is this your promised king?
Is this the Anointed One?

The welcoming throng halts behind him.
The eyes of the coming king survey his city.
He weeps.
“Jerusalem, O Jerusalem…”

The ass-borne king and caravan moves on…
As it prophetically must.
The Temple draws him as a magnet draws steel:
The royal Son to His Father’s house.
The earthly setting of the throne room of the Most High.
The coming king is aghast.
Sacred place betrayed for mammon space?
Indignation flares volcanic! Anger erupts…
A whip cracks. Tables of trade sent flying.
Get out! Out! Out! Now!
“My house will be called a house of prayer…”

            Credentials must be established.
“Tell us by what authority you are doing these things…”

There should be a coronation feast.
“He took the bread… he took the cup…
This is my body… This is my blood…
for you… for forgiveness… Do this in remembrance…”
          
            The procession to enthronement begins in the garden.
            “So Judas came, leading Temple guards and chief priests…”

Credentials are formally tested.
“The High Priest said to him,
I charge you under oath by the living God:
Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

The royal lips speak the eternally noble and necessary answer.
“Yes, it is as you say…”

The world’s powers also seek to question.
“Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’”

I cannot help but wonder, my Lord and God:
No king takes office without your anointing.
And now my mind recalls a strange occurrence:
“Mary took a pint of pure nard…
She poured it on Jesus’ feet…”

But where are the royal symbols, Lord?
“The governor’s soldiers… stripped him and put a scarlet robe
on him, and then wove a crown of thorns and set it on his head.
They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and
mocked him. ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’”

The king is presented to his subjects.
“Behold your King…”

…to be loyally received.
“We have no king but Caesar.”

He, and his title, are set in place.
“Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”

The king breathes his last.
He dies.
And is buried.
Our dead and buried king.

What sort of a king is this?
My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?

On the third day he rose again.
What? He rose from death?
Death could not hold him?
Death could not hold him!

Our king is alive!
Impossible! But true!
He lives and breathes again.
The kingdom of heaven is indeed near…
“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.”
The kingdom of heaven is not near. It is here!

The kingdom of this king is unshakeable.
“Don’t be afraid!
I am the First and the Last.
I am The Living One;
I was dead, but now I am alive for ever and ever!
And I have the keys of death and the realm of the dead.”

David’s son is truly David’s Lord!
The river of forgiveness breaks its banks...
the colours of grace and mercy are everywhere.
The tyrant’s power is broken.
Look! The stronghold is destroyed.

            I can breathe. I can breathe!
            We can all breathe again.
“Because I live, you also shall live.”
“Because I breathe again, you also will breathe again.”

I am free. You are free. We are free.

Jesus the Christ, you are King of all kings.
You are Lord of all lords.
King of truth, holy king, loving king,
king of our hearts,
liberty-bringing king we needed.
King who meets our deepest needs.

Lord Jesus, Christ and King,
We worship you, praise you, bless you and adore you.
We place our trust in you…
and trust only you, the Father’s promised King.
We will love as you have loved us…

We can but bow before you.

            Holy, Holy, Holy.  

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