Sermon, Last Sunday after Pentecost: The Reign of Christ, November 22, 2020
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 100; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46
Being watchful and Faithful
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. Today is the feast of the Reign of Christ (Christ the King). Also, this Sunday ends the Church Year A. Next Sunday is the beginning of Church Year B, and the season of Advent.
While the notion of kings with executive powers is rear in most countries and nations nowadays, the ancient world had kings who thought to have absolute powers over ordinary people. Some kings called themselves lords, and whatever they dictated or decreed was final no matter whether it was right or not. Some kings claimed to have divine powers and forced their subjects to worship them.
Unlike these earthly kings, Christ is King and Lord who has absolute powers to order and rule our lives. Christ is the promised messiah, the king of peace, truth and gentleness. Also, Christ is the promised shepherd who gathers, feeds, tends and cares for people as the good shepherd does for his or her sheep.
Today’s gospel text is part of the conclusion of Matthew’s eschatological discourse in which we find a powerful scene of the last days. The emphasis is on the criterion of judgment in the kingdom of God rather than themes of delay, Jesus’ motifs as son of man, final reckoning, and the separation of bad and good.
What is at issue is what it means to be watchful and faithful while we wait for the second coming of the Lord and the Day of Judgment. According to this reading, watchfulness is about recognizing Jesus in the eyes of those who are in need, and being ready to do something about these needs in Jesus’ name. Watchfulness is about paying attention to all kinds of people in the kingdom of God, and finding out how to engage them and be proactive so that they too may enjoy Christ’s reign.
Faithfulness is about translating love in actions of mercy and service, something that pleases God to no end. Faithfulness is indicative of those living and serving in the kingdom of God, and, who are waiting for salvation when the Lord returns.
Faithfulness is about Jesus’s last message and greatest action of love expressed on the cross. Faithfulness is responding positively to this love through sacrificial giving and sharing of ourselves and resources for the good of others.
We all know that we can no longer meet for worship and other activities due to COVID-19 until further notice. This has somehow limited resources needed for outreach ministries which were personally delivered to us on Sunday mornings. Such included items for the Food Bank, Soup Kitchen, Toasty Toes for the homeless and others.
The needs have not gone away and our help is needed. I invite those who are able and willing to continue supporting our outreach ministries through financial donations since we can no longer collect food item due to restrictions we have.
Bob Curle, a resident of Selkirk once said, “We are blessed so that we bless others” I am privileged to do Church with people like you who are blessed, and know it. We are blessed to be among those who Jesus invites to inherit the kingdom of God. I praise God for all of you who watch and remain faithful to your calling. It is you to whom Jesus welcomes into the Kingdom of Gods.
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:34-40)
We celebrate the day of the Reign of Christ by working with Him because we are called and sent to places where God is already working. Amen.