Instead we’re going to consider this grand statement from the letter to the Colossians. There’s some question as to whether Paul wrote this letter, but for now we’re going to assume he did. It really doesn’t matter who wrote it because the statement holds true whatever the case may be. In this brief passage, we hear a call to kneel before our Lord and embrace him as our king.
In this text Paul speaks of power and its use. Power is intoxicating, and as Edmund Burke wrote many years ago:
Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any emolument from it, even though but for one year, can never willingly abandon it.1
History teaches us that rulers and would-be-rulers fight for power and rarely give it up willingly. We know too that power tends to corrupt even those with the best of intentions. Consider that often quoted statement of Lord Acton: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."2 Perhaps the reason why our nation has been able to peacefully transfer power is that Founders of the nation understood the difficulty of doing this. And so they established a Constitution designed to limit the power of any one person or group. That doesn’t mean that power struggles don’t happen, it’s just that limits have been placed on them.
When we look at things cosmically, we discover that power is ultimately limited because Christ is the King who reigns over all. We may think we have absolute power, but there are limits. But we only stop seeking power when we finally submit ourselves to another – and that other is the one who died on a cross outside Jerusalem’s walls.
If we’re to understand our place in the universe, we must look at things cosmically. In this passage Paul insists that the one who brings order to the universe and reconciles us to God is the one who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of creation; the one who is before all things, and in whom all things were created.
You who were once estranged and hostile in mind doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him -- provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. (Col. 1:21-23).
As we bring to a close this church year by celebrating the reign of Jesus the Christ, we look forward to beginning another year of living in the presence of God. We have been called to be servants of this gospel of peace and reconciliation, by walking humbly with our God and doing justice in the land (Micah 6:8).
2. Dictionary of Quotations, 1:5.
Rev. Dr. Robert Cornwall
Pastor, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Christ the King Sunday
November 24, 2007