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

If the Scriptures are accurate in what they say about Jesus, in what they report he said, and in what they report he did and continues to do (and, of course, I believe they are accurate), then without question he is “King of kings and Lord of lords,”[1]as we prayed in the Collect of the Day.

The revisers of The Book of Common Prayerin 1979 gave us the Roman Catholic Feast of Christ the King in everything but the name. They gave us the Collect of Christ the King as Proper 29. They gave us the Readings from the Common Lectionary, and that gift was reinforced in 2006 when the Episcopal Church adopted the Revised Common Lectionary which the whole Episcopal Church uses.

But what no one can give us is a way to evade God’s reality. We can pretend we are not God’s creatures and, we can pretend we are not subjects in God’s kingdom. But those pretenses are self-delusions. They lead to nowheresville. The truth is that we are like the Second Thief in today’s Gospel. The Second Thief knows who he is, and he knows who Jesus is. He acknowledges Jesus’ kingship in the kangaroo court of crucifixion when he says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”[2]

If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth, then not one of our faculties or powers is exempt from his empire. Jesus must reign in our minds. He must reign in our wills. He must reign in our hearts. If we wish to have the peace of Christ, we have no choice but to look for it in the kingdom of Christ.

The Second Thief, the proxy for us in today’s Gospel, lived with the promise of Christ in his ears, the promise not of a vague or rosy future, but with the promise to be with Christ in paradise. He died with this promise in his ears. And today he lives, as he always has, in the hands of a loving and merciful Creator and in the hands of a loving and merciful King who died that we might live and live for ever.

[1]BCP(1979), page 236.

[2]Saint Luke 23:42.