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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Church news, 11/30: "Living in the kingdom of Christ the King"

November 22, the last Sunday after Pentecost, Christ the King Day, provided the opportunity for us to consider who is the king of us -- Christ or someone/something else?

Fr. David pointed out that Jesus Christ gave a succinct description of His kingdom when he appeared before Pontius Pilate:

My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.... For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. (John 18:33-37)

"The world's way is to fight for power," Fr. David says. "There's a big difference between how things are done in the world and how they are done in Christ's kingdom."

While the difference is huge, it's still easy to get caught up in worldly fights because even though we aren't of the world we're in it. Even during the life of Jesus, we see Peter drawing a sword and cutting off the ear of Malchus in an attempt to stop him from arresting Jesus:

"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" (Matthew 26:53,54)

And Jesus heals Malchus' ear and allows Himself to be arrested. This is the ultimate example of faith in God: the man Jesus, struggling with the idea of laying down his life, obeying his Heavenly Father as the Christ of the Trinity.

"We're meant to be in the Kingdom and the Kingdom in us -- where God is honored, worshiped, adored and obeyed through faith," Fr. David said. Fighting in the world's way indicates we prefer to trust in our own strength than in God's.

"How much difference has the Gospel and presence of Jesus made in your life?" Fr. David asked. "Do we fight as the world fights, or do we witness by word and behavior? Do we really believe that the Kingdom of God is the 'pearl of great price', worth everything to obtain? Let us pray for change in the world -- 'Thy will be done on earth as in Heaven' -- one life at a time, starting with ours."

NOTES: The Parish Annual Meeting was held following worship. Joseph Ibezim and Jason Willson were elected unanimously to three-year terms on the Vestry. New Ministry and Liturgy Committees were formed and the parish spent some time looking at its forward planning in terms of a draft 2010 budget, a new design for ministry functions, and desired characteristics of a church home. Thanks to the Sunday School for their gifts of Advent Chains and thanks to all who helped supply the delicious lunch. The Women's Book Group meeting will be re-scheduled after the holidays. Books to be discussed include Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and Catching Fireflies by Patsy Clairmont.

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