Readings for Christ the King/Reign of Christ, 11/25/12:
2 Samuel 23:1-7, Psalm 132:1-12, Revelation 1:4b-8, John 18:33-37
2 Samuel 23:1-7:
- "the last words of David." Handily, David's last words are eloquent and of faith. What do you hope your last words will be? We never can be sure which will be our last. My grandfather's last words were "I love you," and my family all carries the comfort of those words wit us.
- In verse 3, David talks about a just ruler. Do you think he sees himself that way, or do you think he wishes he could have been more like the description he gives?
- Unfortunately, the last of his last words are about his enemies being consumed "in fire on the spot." I hope I'm not worrying about enemies on my deathbed. But I guess David was worried about the future of the nation he had rules as a whole.
- This Psalm ties into the Old Testament lesson, a sort of eulogy or prayer for David's soul, perhaps right at the time of his death. What do you think others will say about you at your death? In the immediate context? Years later?
- "until I find a place for the Lord." It is funny to think about having to find a physical place for God to 'hang out' in. But I can relate to trying to find a place for God in my heart. Where is your place for God?
- There is a lot of concern in this Psalm over family legacy. What do you want to be passed down and kept in your family for generation after generation?
- People have a fascination with the End Times. Witness the obsession with the fast approaching 12/21/12 and Mayan calendars. Revelation is a book that confuses, and scares, but in my mind is rarely interpreted in congregations in a way that is helpful. I took a class while at Drew on Revelation with Dr. Stephen Moore. Everything, while still over my head sometimes, made more sense after learning much more about the context in which Revelation was written. Learning that, I could finally let the text speak to me in meaningful ways! Anyway...
- "I am the Alpha and the Omega" - Unfortunately I have read this text too many times recently, at the funerals of dear church members. But there is comfort in knowing that our beginning and our ending and everything before, after, and in between, is with God, in God, of God.
- "Look, He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him." Human nature wants to make sure people pay and get what they deserve, right? All while being convinced that we deserve better than they do! Here is Jesus returning, and the biggest concern is that the bad guys get what's coming to them. Where is the joy at being with Christ?
- Before moving to Advent, we're suddenly jolted to the last days of Jesus' life on Reign of Christ/Christ the King Sunday. The move is a bit jarring, and I think it is mean to be. In Christmas, we always must have some Easter, and vise versa.
- "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus wants to know why Pilate asks this question. What do you think? Pilate evades a direct answer. He implies no knowledge of Jesus prior to this exchange. Do you think Pilate had heard of Jesus already? What would it be like to hear of Jesus first and only from those who hated him, like the chief priests?
- What does it mean to testify to the truth? Have you ever had to give testimony in court? Can two people describe the scene of an accident differently and still think they are telling the truth? Jesus says we "belong to the truth." What do you think he means?
- Jesus talks about his kingdom being "not form this world." Some people take that to mean that God's kingdom has no earthly place, but I don't think that's what he means. The kingdom of God is here and now and arriving and at hand. But I think he reminds us that the source - the origin - is with God.