Immersed in Christ: December 22, 2020
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
O King of nations
and desire of all,
The cornerstone of unity and peace,
Come! Save us your creatures, whom You fashioned from the dust!
When we address Jesus as “King of Nations,” we are giving him a political title. We expect heads of government to take charge of “temporal” affairs, whatever is required for our well-being in this world. Politicians, by definition, are “involved.” And so is Jesus. His “headline proclamation” in preaching the Good News was, “The Kingdom of God is at hand.” 1
Our assumptions about politicians are based on an assessment of human talents and power. Theoretically, good human laws and good human behavior could produce a good society. But as long as sin abounds it will not happen. Jesus, however, makes a happiness possible on this earth that neither comes from nor depends on human circumstances. Or on human power. He gives Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge and Counsel that do not depend on a good school system. He gives a “family bond” of Piety that patriotism can never produce. The gift of Fear of the Lord achieves order beyond the power of governments. And Fortitude from the Holy Spirit converts heroism in the face of difficulties and dangers from exceptions into the rule. These are divine gifts, and only a divine King can bestow them. We just need to be aware of them and ask for them. Come! Save us your creatures, whom You fashioned from the dust!
We call Jesus the cornerstone of unity and peace: a unity not of imperialism but of koinonia, the divine “fellowship” of “communion in the Holy Spirit.” And the peace he gives is something the “world” can neither give nor take away. Knowing this, we will “seek peace, and pursue it” with confidence. 2
The point is, we need to be aware of this, of the difference between what human power or circumstances can do and what God can (and does) do. What we try to do or don’t have the courage to try to do, depends on what we are aware of when we make our choice. If we deliberately cultivate awareness of the divine life, gifts and power in us, we will not unreflectively act as if they did not exist. We will use them.
1Samuel 1: 24-28 is the story of a mother who knew the child in her arms was more the result of divine intervention than of human action.
For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him.
That awareness determined her action:
Therefore... he is given to the Lord.
In Luke 1: 46-56 Mary’s hymn of praise came out of awareness of what God was doing in her: “My soul magnifies the Lord...for the Mighty One has done great things for me.” That should be our constant hymn of praise.
Initiative: Lift up your heart! Be aware of the divine power given to you
1 For the Jews of his time, “Messiah” meant king, and for most of them it meant nothing else John McKenzie, The Power and the Wisdom, pp. 73,76 2 John 14:27; 1Peter 3:11a, quoting Psalm 34:14.