Saturday, 19 November 2016

Christ the King

Luke 23:33- 43 and Jeremiah 23:1-6

As some of you know I have been cooking carrot cake. The problem is that for the first time ever this year I watched a whole series of the Great British Bake Off. I am of course too late in discovering its charms just as it is all about to change but nonetheless inspired I set off with flour, butter, sugar and a carrot or two persuaded that if Candice of Barton could do it then Steve of Streatley might be le to bake a cake! Well people were kind about the first effort, taste, texture, lightness flavour, were all OK (no soggy bottoms) and to be fair it was eaten in two days. But I was dissatisfied with the rise – on holiday I had watched other boys and girls eating carrot cake like this; but mine was I felt rather skinny and so to try and improve I have been cooking carrot cakes. I have also been asking your advice, which has been plentiful, beat the flour less, beat the butter and sugar more, grind the carrots to a powder – yet so far for all my efforts I feel that at the moment of judgement KING Paul will kick me out of the tent.

Christ the KING takes a different view. The tent of heaven remains open to those who believe and as we hear in today’s Gospel to those who recognise and repent even though they may seem to us and to themselves to have failed.

“Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom,” says the condemned criminal and Jesus replies “truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The kingdom of God is like no other, it is not bounded by walls, fortresses or tent flaps and guy ropes but is open; there are paths to follow, shepherds to guide us, good shepherds who will give us good advice and counsels, who will tend us and lead us. Christ the king recognises those who are seeking the way, working in our lives to teach and encourage us placing people around us in whom we can see goodness. We all look at our lives and find ourselves unworthy knowing that we fall short but as we reach this Sunday, the end of the church’s year when our cycle of readings closes it is appropriate to remember the sweep of the story, the great truth of the Gospel.

“When they came to the place called ‘The Skull’ they crucified him there.” Christ died on the cross to save us – He died for you and me.

Metropolitan Andrew Bloom, who has written books about spiritual endeavour, meditation and enrichment speaks of the value of these practices, of trying to perfect the inner self, in his description he reminds me of learning to play a musical instrument – there is hard work perhaps some struggle but there is joy in the learning and approaching some competence. The kingdom of God is something to be sought with joy.

In the season  of Advent, traditionally one of penitence and reflection as we look forward to the celebration of Jesus’ birth, Paolo will lead a series of four reflections in the Parish Centre at 8.00 on the Thursdays of Advent beginning with Thursday the 1st December.

So please join us for these so that we can explore, discuss and practice our faith – it may be if I practice hard and heed all the advice I have been given that by the last reflection on the 22nd December there may be a carrot cake which comes closer to keeping me in the tent.     

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