But what honor was it to the Lord to be King of Israel? What great thing was it to the King of eternity to become the King of men? For Christ’s kingship over Israel was not for the purpose of exacting tribute, of putting swords into His soldiers’ hands, of subduing His enemies by open warfare; but He was King of Israel in exercising kingly authority over their inward natures, in consulting for their eternal interests, in bringing into His heavenly kingdom those whose faith, and hope, and love were centred in Himself. Accordingly, for the Son of God, the Father’s equal, the Word by whom all things were made, in His good pleasure to be King of Israel, was an act of condescension and not of promotion; a token of compassion, and not any increase of power. For He who was called on earth the King of the Jews, is in the heavens the Lord of angels. (St. Augustine of Hippo, Tractates on the Gospel of John 51.4)

 

Having made it through the story of Jesus’ last days, death, and burial, I have chosen to select readings for each day of Holy Week from some of my favorite theologians. First up is St. Augustine, one of the early church fathers, who in this selection from his commentary on John’s gospel contrasts kingship of the sort Jesus exercises to the kingship of our world. As we proclaim Jesus as our king in the Liturgy of the Palms, only to fast-forward to the moment when we will give him up to death in the reading of the Passion, take a moment to reflect on this contrast. In Christ, God shows us what divine power really looks like. What kind of power do we strive for in our own lives?

 

Let us pray: Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Worship: Gather today to worship our Lord and to be fed by his presence in Word and Sacrament.

A Journey Through the Passion is a daily meditation for Lent curated by Fr. Justin Crisp, our Associate Rector and Theologian-in-Residence. Meditations follow the schedule of readings for our 2019 Maranatha House Churches, feature prayers for the season of Lent according to the Book of Common Prayer and Lesser Feasts and Fasts, and are patterned on the seven practices of The Way of Love, a rule of life for the Episcopal Church.