This last Sunday in the Church year is known as Christ the King Sunday and in each of the 3 years of the lectionary cycle we encounter different readings that highlight the uniquenesses of Jesus’ kingship. In this year of the cycle we read Luke 23:33-43, the passage at the cruxifixction of Jesus when one criminal recognizes Jesus’ innocence and asks to be remembered. This criminal carries an awareness of his own brokenness into this moment and through his own awareness, his own ability to see who is truly before him, recognizes the unique sort of king that Jesus is.
Sometimes our ability to see, to really bring awareness and compassion to our encounters, requires us to start looking for something first in order for us to see it when we encounter it. We hear about grandeur, power, and strength in much of scripture and so we often look for the presence of God in more powerful forms of those characteristics. But what if, as we see in this text, the God we are looking for in traditionally kingly ways shows up in a grandeur that is more focused on the beauty of rich and authentic relationship and presence. What if the power that God shows is a power that seeks to share and empower others instead of to wield authority over others. What if the strength that God demonstrates is the strength to stand alongside of others in the midst of brokenness instead of strength that lifts us beyond the troubles of daily living. What if we need to be reminded to look for this sort of kingship that Jesus shows us on the cross and to live it out with each other as we begin another year in Christ?