Sunday 20th November 2022
Last Sunday after Pentecost - Christ the King

2 Samuel 23:1-7; Psalm 132:1-13, (14-19); Revelation 1:4b-8; John 18:33-37

(Alternatives: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Psalm 93)

The reading from Samuel celebrates the life of David, whose earthly kingship is deeply inter-twined with God's identity as King over Israel, and indeed, over all the earth. Although a unique figure in history, we might argue that David represents an understanding of role and vocation that every follower of Christ might seek to model. His daily tasks have been approached with a sense of being called by God, and seeking His purpose though them. At times he has displayed significant personal failings, and at others engaged in tasks that we would find difficult to countenance today, but nonetheless there remains an intrinsic link between his identity as a servant of God, and his role in wider society.

In many respects the same is true of Daniel, he has become a senior statesman, participating in a regime that many within Israel saw only as an enemy. It is unstinting commitment to God's covenant that has not only been the defining feature of his faith identity, but also his Civil Service Career. While inviting all Christians to reflect on how their faith informs and defines their approach to work, prayers might br particularly offered for those who work in local and national Government, the Civil Service and statutory sectors etc.

The overarching reality for all of this is reflected in the reading from Revelation, the end of history is one in which Christ's kingship will be finally and fully revealed. One recent ICF lecturer spoke of how this reality had inspired his working life - he originally saw himself in the business of dealing with the consequences of a fallen world, but had then re-envisioned his task as working towards this great consummation. Many working Christians might struggle to reconcile their own experiences with such a glorious vision - but there is powerful inspiration in the Gospel reading; here we discover the King of Kings, choosing to accept the earthly authority of an alien ruler for the sake of the cross, for the sake of the Gospel. This is the way of Godís Kingdom; believing that Godís purposes can be fulfilled even when we are engaged in tasks and regimes that seem to oppose it at every turn. This is a reality that can underpin anyoneís approach to the world of work.