The following is a reflection written by Sister Janet M. Peterworth, OSU, for the Feast of Christ the King, 2018.
If Jesus were a politician what would His signature policies be? Apparently he would favor the poor, after all, He called them blessed.
No doubt He would be concerned about the homeless. He did say,” birds have nests and foxes have dens, but I have nowhere to lay my head.”
I am sure He would speak for nuclear disarmament and gun control, because He told His followers, “Those who live by the sword will perish by the sword.”
The protection of children would be a priority policy: trafficked children, abused children, street kids, foster children, uneducated kids. He told people not to send the children away from him. In fact He said “Suffer the little children to come to me.”
Don’t you think He would have a policy dealing with medical care for all? He healed lepers, blind people, those with fevers, those who could not walk, and those who begged next to the healing pools.
I think all of these things would be his signature policies. These would be the policies of the reign of God. Now hold that thought because I am coming back to it. However, I’m switching gears a minute to give you different take on the conversation that we heard in today’s passage between Jesus and Pilate. I ran across this as I was researching this passage.
When the Jews say, “This man makes himself a king,” Pilate is all ears, because now the crowds are talking politics. And people who believe in God can cause a lot of trouble for people who believe only in policies of the state.
So the paraphrase of the interview goes something like this:
Pilate: Are you the king of the Jews?
Jesus: Whose idea is that? Surely not yours . . .
Pilate: Am I a Jew? Am I a deluded member of your religious sect?
Jesus: If I were your kind of king, you would have a fight on your hands. But I am another kind of king. My power has another source.
Pilate: (now fixated on one idea) So you are a king?
Jesus: That’s what you say, but then you don’t know what you are saying. I was born to be king. O never mind.
The interview ends badly. Jesus refuses to be interrogated by a dictator. Jesus refuses to “crow” about being a king, he immediately speaks not about himself, but of his community calling it a kingdom. “My kingdom is not of this world.”
Today, some folk use the word “kindom” instead of kingdom. In the prayer book that some of us use daily, the word kingdom is replaced every time it appears with “kindom.” I think that has some interesting implications. What if all of us had Jesus as our kin? What if Jesus were our Kin and not our King? What if we lived in a kindom and not a kingdom? What if the whole world were kin?
You know, I lived in Southern West Virginia for 25 years. Let me tell you, there is a lot to be said in that region for “your kin.” Someone can be gone away for years, but if they come back and they are your kin, you take them in. If you get stopped on the highway for a coal truck that is overloaded, and that sheriff is your kin, you’ll get a wink, told not to do that anymore, and you’ll move on. If you leave the area and get educated or get a good job, when you come back being all puffed up, you might get accused of “livin’ above your kin.” And if someone of your kin is running for public office, you can be sure that their policies will be supported. Having someone as your kin is important.
So what if Jesus were our kin? What if Jesus were the kin of whole world? Do you think the world would embrace His policies? Do you think all peoples of the earth would serve the poor? If Jesus were kin to the whole world, do you think all people would help find homes for the homeless, and all people would protect children and work for nuclear disarmament and sensible gun control? And do you think if people were estranged from the kinship of Jesus, they would be welcomed back because they were kin? And what if one was caught driving a truck overloaded with sin and guilt, would they be given a wink and told not to do that anymore and be sent on their way? What do you think?
So on this last Sunday in the liturgical year 2017-18, I would propose that a lot of things would be different if the world could embrace Jesus as its kin…not as its king…as someone close to it, not someone who rules over it.
And now, I would like to propose that we re-name this feast that ends our liturgical year. Let’s call it the feast of Christ our Kin and leave here shouting “Long live our Kin.”