RCL C Proper 29 Complementary
Jeremiah 23:1-6, Psalm 46, Colossians 1:11-20, Saint Luke 23:33-43

On this the last Sunday of the Church Year we behold Christ the King reigning from Calvary’s Tree. No throne, no purple or royal clothing, no crown except the mocking crown of thorns, and no scepter proclaim him King of all the world.

But he is King, and the kingship he exercises is a special kingship. It is other-worldly. He forgives those who unjustly nailed him to the cross. He allows those who think they now have him under control to gamble for his meager clothing—everything that he has in this world. He endures and suffers the mockery of those who deride him.

And he judges. He judges two criminals punished justly with him. One of those mocks and derides him just like the others. But one of them pronounces the King’s judgment upon himself. He asks the King, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And so it is: the King’s mercy is his judgment. “Today,” he says to the second criminal, “you will be with me in Paradise.”[1]

The kingship Jesus exercises on Calvary’s Tree is forgiving; it is just; it is merciful; it is long-suffering; it is the kingship of the Creator of everything that is.

I trust you see that Jesus is more forgiving, more just, more merciful, more long-suffering than anyone else you know. But the truth is that he calls upon his followers to go and do likewise. He calls upon us to be his people in this unforgiving, unjust, unmerciful, and impatient world. It is trying, I know. We can think we’re surrounded by people who just don’t get it. And we are. They are there surely, just as surely as we know that there is a better way and a better person to be our guide. That’s very good news.

Along with that good news, there is more good news. We’re about to be given another Year, another Year of grace to bring our lives into greater harmony with his. For if we adjust our sights to his, every day of the coming year will afford us boundless opportunity to journey a little more deeply into the mystery of the cross and the mystery of his kingship, a journey that will carry us closer to completion and closer to fulfillment, closer to him.

So I invite you to lay aside the things that hinder you and to become more fully his. For he is cheering us on. Only we can move toward him, “the firstborn from the dead”[2], the King of kings and Lord of lords.

[1] Saint Luke 23:42-43.

[2] Colossians 1:18