Today, on the last Sunday of the liturgical year, known as Christ the King or the Reign of Christ, we consider the kingship of Jesus (a peasant from the back-water known as Galilee) in our lives.
Amazingly, when you think about it: despite the fact that he was one of several messiahs put to death by the Roman Empire, this itinerant preacher and healer would be the one who emerged as the true messiah. His kingship however, is radically different than what was expected of a messiah. It was widely thought, at the time, that a messiah was a political and military leader.
When, standing before Pilate, Jesus says that his kingdom is "not of this world," it is unlikely that he meant it was of some other world, or of heaven. He meant that what he ushers in as true kingship would not be recognized as such in this broken and sad place.
It is for this reason that I like the traditional name for this Sunday, "the Sunday Next Before Advent!" (I added the exclamation mark.) This name seems less dramatic but that's exactly the point. Jesus downplayed his ministry as king (or messiah) because the kind of king and messiah he turns out to be is so very different from what was expect.
The leadership Jesus shows as the Christ is that of love, righteousness, justice and forgiveness: not of hate, lies, exploitation and vengeance. And more to the point, he inspires his people to "stir up", follow his good example and bring forth the fruit of good work.
And just because I like it, I've switched the traditional collect for today into our order of service. We will use the old version of the prayer from the BCP.