A king who dies on a cross and a criminal who is the first to recognise and witness that it is not in spite of the cross but because of the cross that this king is enthroned.
Christ is a king who receives his kingdom through innocent suffering. He receives the throne in the act of giving up his life in the act of letting go. What does that teach us about the kind of kingship and leadership that God gives and seeks?
On the surface it seems the radical opposite of any earthly kingship. It does not only relinquish life, it relinquishes responsibility and presence and authority. This kingship is utterly different from any earthly form of ruling even ‘servant leadership’ does not come close.
But this Christ this unlikely king does remember people in his kingdom and invites them to his garden. Paradise (paradeisos) a word that only comes three times in the whole New Testament (2 Cor. 12:4 and Rev 2:7) is an ancient Persian word meaning ‘enclosure, garden, park’. By later Jews it was thought to be that part of Hades in which the pious souls awaited the resurrection.
20 November 2016
This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.