The Powerless Power

Dear Friends,

Next Sunday, the last Sunday of the church year, is kept as the Feast of Christ the King.

It seems strange to use the title “king” about Jesus in a world with a long history of corrupt and ineffective monarchs. In our own age, such concepts seem alien and even undesirable. Yet, the word or image of “king” may yet stir in us a sense of something we desire which is more than governments or royal titles. It may remind us that there is a dream of a time when all will be set right and, with the right ruler, we will experience justice and mercy.

In fact, this particular title for Jesus points to something we might easily miss. The lessons this coming Sunday speak not of the glory of human power and rule or the grandeur of human empires. Instead, they point to a simple man standing before a foreign judge as he is being condemned to death for witnessing to the power of the love of God. Bishop David Jenkins, the famous one-time bishop of Durham England, liked to call this “the powerless power that overpowers power.

Today, we stand before Pontius Pilate with Christ. We stand up to proclaim once again that Jesus came to be with us. He came not to rule like a human monarch but to love us even to his own death on a cross. The mystery lies in the majesty of that love and its power to raise us from the dead. It is a mystery, but not a secret.

Thus we pray,

“ … mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule.”

After all, that was what Jesus had in mind.


The Reverend Susan N. Eaves