Today’s celebration of Christ the King is an anomaly in many ways.
The United States arose throwing off a king and the kings that remain in the west are mostly ceremonial. But the image of the king, the ruler, remains strong in our societies.
We want powerful rulers who will keep us safe from all enemies, foreign and domestic. We want absolute security in our houses and our streets, even if it means prisons that are overcrowded. We want our leaders who exude power.
I’m not primarily writing about the US.
Today is election day in Honduras. The president, congress, and all the mayors will be elected today.
In the campaign one candidate, who promotes the militarization of the police, is promising that he will do whatever needs to be done for security.
Another candidate is viewed by some of her supporters as the only solution for the country.
Another runs on a campaign against corruption but some say his campaign has been less than transparent financially.
Another appeals to the loyalty of his party members.
All, in one way or another, are taken in by the notion that power means domination. Power as service – or self-giving – is foreign to many of them.
But what is Jesus’ message in today’s Gospel, Luke 23:35-43?
The leaders and one of those crucified with him mock him and urge him to save himself.
But the mission of Jesus is not to save himself, but to give himself, to hand himself over – out of love.
How many of those who lead see their role as giving themselves for others? not as a “savior,” but as a servant?
How many of us are willing to give ourselves – not to dominate, but to serve?
How many of us really want a savior who is powerless, who is crucified, who is despised?
That is the real choice today – not who will be the president or mayor or congressperson.
And that choice comes because we choose – and let ourselves be chosen – the One who “makes peace by the blood of the Cross” (Colossians 1:20).