How can the Kingdom come? – 6th Sunday after Trinity
One could argue that each era of the Church has been typified by an emphasis, an over emphasis of one aspect of the Trinity to the detriment of the other – interacting with great tidal movements in human history; in part shaping them, but also being shaped by them.The earliest church was a Jesus movement, founded by his closest disciples, people with personal experience of him, who then handed on to the next generation who remained faithful to a person who they had never met, but who still felt close enough almost to touch.
Almost overnight, and on the whim of one particular Caesar, the Christian faith went from being the most dangerous choices one to make, to one of the safest and the most socially advantageous, no longer outlawed but out in the open, adopted by the Roman Empire as its official religion, the cult of a person transformed into a vast organisation that matched, in certain ways, the structures of power and domination that had adopted it. And a price was paid. How deep and how long that price extended is a burning question for today
It has become a cliche to say that Advent is a time of preparation, especially as we so often seem to prepare for the expected rather than the unexpected. But what does it even mean to prepare? Are we being invited to make temporary and external arrangements, are the changes to be practical, visible but extrinsic? Is this to be but a brief hiatus before we return, once more, to ’normal’? Or are we being invited on a journey of transformation that is essentially intrinsic, perhaps even private and invisible to others, but which for us helps to uncover and discover our true selves, the true ‘us’ inside. Isn’t that what Jesus meant when he called us to life ‘in all its fullness’?
Due to illness – this week we have a short video meditation.
For the festival of Christ the King, this poem entitled ’The Kingdom’ was written by R.S. Thomas 1913-2000.
Today we make an act of commemoration but not celebration; we hold in our prayers those who have died and suffered in two world wars, in countless regional conflicts since, and in peace-keeping duties across the world. We mourn their loss and their suffering; the failure of politics and diplomacy that led to their sacrifice on the altar of human pride, obstinacy and indifference, and we also confess the darkness in our own hearts that all too often gives way to anger and seeks retribution. We pray that humanity may, before it is too late, consign war to the sins of history, and instead walk the ways of conciliation and peace.