A sermon preached at Kowloon Union
Church on Sunday 26 November 2017, the Christ the King Sunday, by the Rev. Kwok Nai Wang. The scripture readings that day were Psalm 100, Ezekiel 34:20-24, Ephesians 1:15-23, Matthew 25:31-46.
Grace & Peace be upon you.
My family and I are very grateful
and happy to worship God with you on this very special Sunday. Dietrich
Bonhoeffer in his book, “Life Together”, said in the opening paragraph: sisters
and brothers in fellowship is a gift from God. We should not take it
lightly. I wish to take this opportunity also to thank you for caring for me
and Dorothy while I was suffering from lymphoma cum cold agglutinin disease by
remembering me in your prayers of intercessions on many Sundays.
Last Thursday was Thanksgiving in
America; hence today is Thanksgiving Sunday. The origin of this can be traced
back to a group of British puritans who set sail by the Mayflower to the “New
World” in 1620. After much hardship in farming, they had their first harvest.
So, with a joyful heart, they returned thanks to God.
To-day most people live in cities.
Farming is foreign. As a matter of fact, we are totally alienated from the
earth which produces food to sustain us. As a result, we are deprived a
sense of joy and thankfulness especially in harvest time.
This is also the last Sunday in the
liturgical year, many reformed Churches use this Sunday to remind their people
to return thanks to God for the care and protection as well as many blessings
God has bestowed on them throughout the past year.
We live in an extremely busy world,
rapidly changing. Daily we are besieged with many and various kinds of
immediacies and problems. We rely on our mind solely to tackle them. We
hardly take time to let our heart have a feel on whatever we encounter.
Consequently, we fail to appreciate the many good things which surround our
life. Instead of a thankful heart, we tend to take things for granted.
A Hebrew proverb says, “Keep your
heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life”
(Proverbs 4:23). We should learn to live with our heart more than with
Our mind is good to direct
our knowing and our doing; but it is our heart which keeps our being in
contact with God, or the ground of our being.
God has not only given each one of us a
very precious life, God also gives us many close relatives, friends and
colleagues as well as the whole natural world to sustain it. Even more
importantly, God gives us the Word of Life to make us aware how
to live a fulfilled life.
The early apostles wrote a letter to
the Hebrews. The very first sentence is, “In the past, God spoke to our
ancestors many times and in many ways through the prophets, but in these
last days he has spoken to us through his son” (1:1-2).
In sum, God does not only
give us the Word of Life through the Bible and sages of all times, but “God was
in Christ”. God speaks to us personally through the mystery of the Incarnation.
Jesus Christ came into the world and conquered the human heart not by force,
but by his compassionate heart.
Prophet Zechariah had predicted:
“Rejoice, rejoice, people of Zion!
Shout for joy, you people of
Look, your king is coming to you!
He comes triumphant and victorious,
but humble and riding on a
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The historic and traditional
Churches use this Sunday to celebrate the “Reign of Christ”. But take note:
Christ came to the world not as a king who would only take care of the
interests of the rich and powerful. He came to serve those in need, so
that “the blind can see, the lame can walk, those who suffer
from dreaded skin diseases are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead
are brought back to life, the good news is preached to the poor.” (Mat.
11:5). In fact, in the Gospel lesson we read a while ago, Jesus did not only
have compassion on those in need; he actually identified with the
hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison.
Jesus came to this world as our Servant King.
Much more, Christ died for
all of us so that our life would be made whole again – to be reunited
with God, the giver of our life; and hence with our sisters and
brothers; with nature and indeed with our own self!
This is what the most famous
hymn of Christ says, Jesus Christ
“Who, being in the form of
did not count equality with God
becoming as human beings are;
and being in every way like a human being,
even to accepting death, death on a cross.” (Phil. 2:6-8)
Jesus Christ has
accepted his death as a way to show his sacrificial love to all
humankind. As the Gospel of John says, “The greatest love a person can have for
his friends is to give his life for them.” (15:13). To suffer and die on the
cross is nothing conceptual nor romantic. Now, I would like to
invite the celestial singers to sing for us in Latin Mozart’s “Ave Verum
Corpus”, how Jesus’ true body suffered. Let me give you the English words,
“Hail, true body,
born of Virgin Mary, who having truly suffered, was sacrificed on the cross for
mankind, whose pierced side flowed with water and blood. May it be for us a
foretaste (of the heavenly banquet) in the trial of death”.
O dear Jesus: have
mercy on us. Amen.