Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Fri, 19/11/2010 – 11:36
Year C (2009-2010)
Bible Book: Luke / Lukas
Chapter: 23
Verse: 33 – 43

The last Sunday before Advent is known as the Sunday of The Reign of Christ, the King. The inscription on the cross makes this passage very relevant to the occasion. Anna Carter Florence wrote that this is a story about the reversal of power. It is a text that challenges our ideas about power and leadership – and therefore the way we serve.

It seldom happens that a person in a position of power gives his/her power away to his/her subjects. Even if it happens, it is seldom a complete reversal of power as they make sure that there are some checks and balances, some protection. The powerful is seldom prepared to die!

Pastors or ministers are powerful people. They are the congregation leaders and part of the decision-making circle. Very few decisions are made that are not discussed with the minister. When we ministers begin a process of empowering the “ordinary” congregation members, we often speak of giving away or turning over power. But we make two mistakes. Firstly, we do not give away the power to interpret the Word. Secondly, we do not reverse the power, but simply withdraw with the excuse that our job is to preach and teach. We are absent when decisions are made and therefore we feel that we need not take any responsibility. By withdrawing, we actually consolidate our power, as we become sacrosanct.

The point is that the reversal of power can be very superficial.

What happened at the cross of Jesus was something very different. The dying Christ did not withdraw. He took responsibility for his ministry to the very end. His ministry was to bring life. His words were life-giving words. “Forgive them, Father!” (TEV). It was part of His mission to proclaim the new world, the year of restoration and healing (Luke 4:19). “I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me” (TEV). Setting criminals free was part of his ministry (Luke 4:18). He spoke his life-giving words to his enemies, to criminals, to those who were marginalized, and stigmatized. His death brought hope to lepers and women, to the possessed and fishers.

Christ, the King, is our hope!

To think about or discuss: Draw a diagram showing the relationships between the different individual role-players and groups of your congregation/organisation. Discuss what the power relations between them are. How can we change these relations in order to bring life to one another?

Author: J Pieters (Ds)
Language: English