Meditations, Reflections, Bible Studies, and Sermons from Kowloon Union Church  

Christ – Our Servant King

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.

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 Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you!
He comes triumphant and victorious,
but humble and riding on a donkey —
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (9:9)

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 God,
did not count equality with God 
something to be grasped.
But he emptied himself,
the form of a slave,
becoming as human beings are;
and being in every way like a human being,
he was humbler yet,
 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.

# posted by Heddy Ha : Sunday, November 26, 2017

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