Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven Lk. 19:38

It would surely present a comical picture to see a king riding on a donkey – on a horse yes but not on a donkey. And this is true whether the scene is one from the time of Jesus or a modern one.   It would surely be the source of much laughter and even ridicule and perhaps all sorts of unkind comments about the sanity of the person.

But that is exactly how Jesus chose to make his entry as the Messiah and King into Jerusalem.

And so the comedy in the action would disappear when we realize that this is no ordinary man - no ordinary king - it is Jesus, Son of God. A man yes – but one with a divine mission and a message for all mankind – a message of love and repentance - radical in its nature, which he delivered through his teaching and actions – Jesus ate and drank with the unclean; he picked corn on the Sabbath defying the Pharisees and breaching the Law; Jesus drove people from the temple precincts because they were dealing fraudulently and much more.

Now if his actions were strange to some and to others insulting to the Law the message was generally confusing to most people of the time as they never fully grasped it. The Jews did not get the point that the messiah that God sent was not the messiah they had anticipated. They wanted a warrior messiah who would fight earthly battles and deliver them from their current state of oppression, restoring them to their favoured place in a material world.
Indeed their prophets had prophesied this and so in today’s reading we see Jesus as fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah who prophesied that the king would come .  “........triumphant and victorious ….., humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zec 9:9 NRS) 

But even though the large masses of Jews knew the prophecy they did not fully accept it as they were more concerned with their needs for a warrior king than with the promises of God. And so on his arrival in Jerusalem it was the disciples who acclaimed Christ as King - not the large masses of the Jewish nation. These were the ones who had experienced him and who were open to him – these were the ones who accepted his kingship.

Today there would be much the same reaction.  For it is really only those who feel the need for God, and who experience God in Christ, who proclaim Christ as King of their lives. Those who are prepared to submit their wills to God’s will. For these persons Christ does not serve their wills but rather they serve Christ.
And so today as we celebrate the feast of Christ the King we reflect on the Christ’s reign of peace. The peace he came to plant in the hearts of all who would recognize his Kingship and accept it joyfully.

But what is this peace that Christ came to bring?

The peace of God in Christ is not only the absence of war and conflict. For many of us in here there has never been a time in our lives when there was no war nor international conflict. In such a world as this peace is a very elusive commodity – even though nations continually claim to fight for it. Indeed the fighting seems only to create an environment of fear in which there is for God’s people to live in.

And while we in the region do not fight wars we are not spared this contention and conflict either. We experience contention and conflict daily as a result of the growing culture of hatred and division in our society.  Sadly our leaders in public life do not help to foster peace as their comments seem to encourage more contention and hatred than foster peace.

The writer of that favourite hymn puts is well when he writes:-

Where is thy reign of peace
And purity and love
When shall all hatred cease
As in the realms above.

And so we begin to wonder if peace really is a commodity to be fought for in the first place.  But peace is to be found in a respect for each other as God’s creation and a tolerance of the differences of each other. This true peace is to be found when people stop paying lip service to God and truly look to his Supreme authority for their guidance.

We are not to expect conflict in this world to cease. It will not because wherever evil exists truth will always pose a challenge and create conflict – they will never lie down with each other.  Christ knew that and in fact when the Pharisees asked him to stop his disciples from speaking the truth his response was that if they disciples ceased then the dead stones would speak. Can you imagine a truth so strong that it cannot be bridled?   

Christ reign of peace will be found where truth is always spoken no matter at what cost. Today many of us have a problem truth. We cover it in nice words and phrases. We evade truth when it would convict us. We speak the truth depending upon who is affected by it.

For truth is central to the reign of peace which Christ brings – God is truth and we cannot find it except we seek it in God.

The peace which Christ came to bring is also the presence of justice and right behavior to each other. Peace in which all people are treated equally and fairly as children of God; in which all the man-made barriers to human relations are broken down and prejudice no longer has a place; in which we love each other not as we love ourselves but as God loves us.

Finally the peace which Christ came to bring is a peace of the heart. A heart that is at peace is one which knows forgiveness of God. It is a repentant heart that is turned to God. A heart which submits in obedience to the will of God in Christ –its king.

Today we accept three new members – Celina-Alkeelha, Kearra and Zavier into the kingdom of God and into that peace which Christ came to bring. We accept them into the body of Christ - the church. These children do not know what is happening to them – they are much too young.   But we know and you Godparents especially must know – for on your shoulders lay the heavy responsibility of helping the parents of these children to nurture them in the knowledge of God. And this you do by your prayers and by your life in which with God’s help you reflect Jesus in all that you do.

You must remember that Christ has need of these children as much as he also has need of you. Like that humble animal which bore him into Jerusalem these children, and we ourselves, are his messengers. We carry to our world the message of Christ the King who comes to rule in our hearts and in our lives– he comes to bring in his reign of peace. He brings a peace for which we pray constantly. He brings us a peace which we are always happy to share with others.

And so as we celebrate this feast of Christ the King my prayer is that we may come to know more fully in our lives that peace which only Christ can give – that peace which passes all understanding.
 

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