After a challenging week for liberal preachers toeing the line between being pastorally available to the full range of their membership and offering a prophetic word in light of an escalation in anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-black, anti-latino, anti-unfortunately, the list goes on verbal, graffiti, and even physical attacks, this week, the liturgical calendar offers us the relatively new feast of Christ the King. Also known as the Reign of Christ, this Sunday, the last Sunday after Pentecost, invites us to spend some intentional time thinking about what it means to be members of the cosmic and infinite Kingdom of God even as we live in a particular time and place. For American Christians in 2016, this question seems to be more timely than ever.
The election of Donald J. Trump as the next President of the United States by a majority of Christian voters has raised the question of what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus. Christian ethicists will have a field day studying the way in which Christians, conservative and liberal, weighed the goods in conflict between Trump’s clearly anti-Kingdom of God rhetoric regarding minority populations and his purported stances on abortion, LGBT rights, and the economy’s ability to lift up impoverished people. While it seems clear to me that Jesus’ commandment to love one another shows nearly all of his platform to be antithetical to the Gospel, I can see how for some single-issue voters, my opinion is equally lacking.
Still, whether you voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, someone else or nobody at all, the reality is that while we live under the laws of 21st century America, our citizenship is, above all, in the Kingdom of God, with Christ as our King, the King of kings and Lord of lords. We are, as the Collect for Proper 29 says, divided and enslaved by sin, and the events of the last week have been the work of the Devil to further divide us: first from one another and ultimately from God. The work of the Church, on the other hand, as described in the Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer is exactly the opposite. As members of God’s Kingdom, our mission is the restoration of relationships. Perhaps, as we continue to face the problems of our time; as we hear the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, a stark reminder of what happens when religion and politics mix; as we prepare for Advent and the coming of Jesus both as vulnerable child and as King of kings, we, disciples of Christ and heirs of the Kingdom, would do well to commit to working against the sin of division and working toward the unity that can only come when we follow Jesus Christ as King and Lord.