Monday, November 26, 2007

Sermon Notes: Christ the King

From the notes on my sermon…

-good food, good fun (except Lions lose)
-joy filled and full of thanks giving

Today – Last Day of the Church Year
-remember – restore all things in Jesus
-King of Kings & Lord of Lords
-free us from sin (which divides/enslaves us)

How do we live each day of the year with such knowledge? To follow Christ our King?

I remember a sermon my wife Ellen preached here…
-Pastor Eloy Cruz (Cuban-American in Brooklyn) (from Jimmy Carter)
-Followed this: “You only have to have two loves in your life—for God, and for the person in front of you at any particular time.”

He follows Jesus’ Greatest Commandment, love God with your whole being and secondly, to love you neighbor as yourself. And certainly that is to follow Christ our King…

This short vacation, I sat with a short story of Leo Tolstoy’s called: The Three Questions, which also I believe helps us consider how we follow Christ the King.

(You can find the short story here.)

"It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake.

And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to any one who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do. And learned men and women came to answer the three questions and they all answered it differently…

And because all the answers differed, the King agreed with none of them, and gave no reward. He instead sought out a hermit, known for being very wise, and disguised himself for the hermit would only entertain common folk.

The King came to the hermit's hut, seeing him outside gardening, this very fragile, weak man, he asked the hermit the three questions. The hermit would not answer him but kept on working, but the king seeing the hermit struggle offered to take the spade and work awhile which the hermit heartedly agreed to. Some hours passed and the hermit would not answer. Finally, as the king was to give up his questioning of the hermit, a man ran up who was bleeding from his stomach and collapsed in front of them.

The king and hermit took care of the man and staunched the bleeding. The man asked forgiveness from the king because he wanted to assassinate the king because he executed his brother and seized his property. But the king whom he was to kill saved his life and he asked for forgiveness. And the king was glad to have made peace with an enemy so easily. Before going away he wished once more to beg an answer to the questions he had put.

The King approached him, and said: "For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man." "You have already been answered!" said the hermit, still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him. "How answered? What do you mean?" asked the King.

"Do you not see," replied the hermit. "If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug those beds for me, but had gone your way, that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business.

Remember then: there is only one time that is important -- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!"

(here ends Tolstoy's story)

How do we serve and follow Christ the king? – it is the answer to those three questions – we do it now, with the person we are with, and to do that person good. When we do this, we honor Christ the king and we are freed in his service. Amen.

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