FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING
20 November 2016
A story: After a few years of suffering, oppression, and persecution, the Jewish people designated
a man named Jacob to go to heaven and speak to the Almighty about their plight.
So Jacob journeyed up to heaven and found himself face to face with God.
“Excuse me, O Holy One, but the Jewish people on earth have sent me up here to ask you
a question,” Jacob began.
“Ask away,” said God.
“Well, Holy One,” Jacob asked, “Is it really true that the Jews are the chosen people?”
“Yes,” God replied, “the Jews are the chosen people.”
Jacob paused, choosing his words carefully,
“Do you think, if it’s all right with you, could you please choose some other people?”
The humor of this story disguises the pain and confusion of “belonging to God.”
Think of it. Moses never made it to the promised land.
Abraham and Sarah were asked to sacrifice their first born son.
Jesus. Jesus–is this is what it means to be God’s chosen child–to die a horrible death?
It’s better not to be chosen.
Several years ago I was at a party in Minneapolis.
By and large the people who were there were very successful, and good people–about my own age.
I went on a lark because I knew the couple throwing the party from my college days.
I was a stranger in this group. As usually happens at these kind of parties,
one of the easy conversation topics was what you do for a living.
The first person who asked me what I did, was a woman, about my age.
And when I told her, her face kind of clouded over. And the conversation just stopped.
After a few uncomfortable moments she excused herself.
I watched her cross the room, join a group of her friends, and point to me with her eyes.
There was the sound of laughter.
I don’t know what she said, but I remember feeling hurt and angry and then thinking:
“I didn’t choose to belong to Jesus. I was handed this faith in a basket
and I’ve just tried to do the best I could with it.”
I think that’s true for a lot of us here today.
By and large we didn’t choose this faith, this Jesus that many of our friends don’t understand,
that complicates our lives and demands a certain way of being.
We were chosen–given this faith by our parents, and maybe even it’s not stretching it too far to say even by God.
And most of us have had to make the best of it.
And I think to our surprise sometimes we have found we love this Lord–this King nailed to a cross.
A folly to the world, who holds out to us the promise, like the thief,
that someday we will understand and find our way to the eternal banquet.