As we reflect on the reign of Christ through scripture this week, we are reassured that God continues to watch over this world and responds to our cries for leadership that honors God and the people of God. This prayer will be answered in the fullness of time when Christ returns as King. In the meantime, God continues to raise up prophetic voices and leaders who will speak truth and seek justice and righteousness for all God’s people.
Longing for the reign of Christ and the return of Christ the King speaks to a desire to see more visible and tangible signs of the peace and power of God in our world today. News headlines bombard us with incidents of gun violence, racial discrimination, nuclear threats, sexual harassment, economic instability, and polarizing political perspectives. We want our current political and spiritual leaders to address these ills and to work toward peace and harmony. Instead we hear of leaders who misuse power and exploit people, which leads to corruption and moral failures.
In today’s scripture the prophet Jeremiah speaks out against the kings who have failed to care for God’s people as shepherds are to care for their sheep. Their lack of care for God’s most vulnerable sheep causes them to scatter, which exposes them to even greater risks. The shepherd’s failure to care does not go unnoticed. The prophet warns that God will address the evils of the shepherd and will gather the flocks and bring them back to their folds. God’s plan includes raising up good shepherds to lead God’s sheep in the way of harmony and peace, not fear and dismay. God’s new shepherds will create a place for all to be known and belong.
God, we pray for the day when your scattered flocks are gathered together into one fold where our similarities outweigh our differences, where abundance replaces scarcity and love replaces fear. Amen.
Our readings for the week highlight the Reign of Christ. Jeremiah prophesies about a future King from the line of David who will bring justice, righteousness, and security for the people of God. Luke 1 records the song of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zechariah praises God for raising up salvation from the house of David as God had promised through the prophets. This child will bring mercy, forgiveness, and light. Luke 23 recounts part of the story of the death of Jesus. Here Jesus, the Light of the world, dies as an act of mercy for our forgiveness. In Colossians, Christ holds first place above everything else. Through his death we are forgiven and brought from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
Read Jeremiah 23:1-6. How do you trust in God’s promises to bring safety and justice as you watch unjust rulers oppress and abandon their followers?
Read Luke 1:68-79. What will you say when you break your silence?
Read Colossians 1:11-20. Recall a time when you waited for something in great anticipation. How did your faith help you find patience?
Read Luke 23:33-43. How do you recognize Christ as King when you experience or witness suffering?
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