Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Jesus as King? Christ the King? An Anathema!

    As one who is trying to be a disciple of Jesus, attending church is often a challenge. This last week was very sad for me. It was 'Christ the King' Sunday, the culmination of the Christian Year which goes from Advent to Christmas, to Easter, to the celebration of the formation of the Church, to the logical conclusion of the reign of Jesus (the Christ) as King, ruling over all creation and the hearts of all men, even the women. There's only one problem. Jesus would be not only amazed at the idea but horrified. Nothing could be more opposite to his whole being than the idea of power, the very foundation of 'KING'.
  How many times had he refused everything to do with the role of king (messiah)? Hadn't that been the most identifying mark of his ministry? Love to him was the opposite of power. True, his followers hadn't accepted that idea. They had used force to take over the city, had handed it to him on a platter, so to speak. But he had abandoned it and left the power to the Romans.
  Even though the experiences after his death had shown that love was greater than power, his followers soon forgot and again came to believe that Jesus would come again to be their king, a cosmic Messiah, and thirty-odd years later joined the Zealots in that hope. They were wrong. They all were killed.
  Yet, year after year we perpetuate that lie. It is deeply engraved in our songs, hopes, writings and story. It has never led to anything but death and despair. It is so utterly against the message of Jesus, the call to act on our own and accept the fact that we are each children of God. How can we not hear Jesus? Why do we ignore his words and call and give in year after year, wasting our lives, waiting for God to do everything for us?
  Churches, if this is the big finale, the end of what you have to say, maybe it had better be the end. Really. There's so much more to the reality of Jesus, and you're just not saying or doing it.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


       One of my favourite sayings comes from the Jewish tradition: Don't expect miracles, but recognize them when they happen.  This is with the understanding that miracles are not super-natural events, as we now view them, but any event or moment in which the holy is experienced. It might be a revelation brought on by the sight of a new leaf on a tree, or by an unexpected word from a stranger.
      Judy and I bought the one and only cafe on this lovely Amherst Island some six years ago, deciding to run it in the summer and sail in the Bahamas in the winter. Judy had grown up here and I certainly felt at home among the varied folks here.
      We did this because it was 'right'. The cafe would never be a 'business' in the usual sense, but the island, any inhabited place, needed somewhere to eat and talk. The cafe hadn't been open in five years. We knew that we couldn't run it forever, and indeed, having no experience what-so-ever, didn't know if we'd last more than the first summer. We did.
      It soon became apparent that our expectations, business-wise, were fairly accurate. We did our best to involve others on every level knowing that sooner or later, it would have to be run on some kind of community basis or close.
      After five years of summer operation, we ran out of steam. A wonderful island cook took it for this last summer and did a fine job, but one summer was enough.
      A month ago, talking around a table with friends after an event, the topic of the cafe came up, along with the possibility of making it an island project. After a few bottles of wine, everyone there was really excited about the concept. We set a date to meet in a month, time to spread the word. We did. Last week, meeting here at the house a friend shares with Judy and me.
       It was a miracle. Only a start, certainly, but a miracle, never-the-less. In this culture, everywhere we look and hear, the pressure is to be independent, alone and self sufficient. To rely on others is a sign of weakness; to do things, anything with others, shows that you're not strong enough on your own. If you need help, hire it. Keep control. Call the shots. Any time that people take a serious look at co-operating on any venture is a miracle, a visible sign that love (the Holy) is among us and within us. Any time we put the welfare of the whole above ourselves, any time that we really understand that our welfare does depend upon the whole, the holy is present.
      There were over twenty people represented in body or spirit. All that talent and experience, talking about the possibilities and sharing their hopes, doubts and wants. It was wonderful. We were so caught up in the moment and the challenge of the event and future that it is only now that I've realized how wonderful the night was.
      I have no idea what will become of the idea. I certainly hope that it will take form and will succeed, that the cafe will become a place of great food and fellowship, for the 'clients' and those who share in the running of it. It could provide much needed employment for island students and raise funds for other projects. But, if that one meeting is all that happens, it will still be a miracle to me.