December 22, 2021
O King of Nations, whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one. O come and deliver the creature you fashioned from the dust of the earth.
Three days before the birth of the Light, in the O Antiphons, the ancient prayer-song of waiting and expectation, the sixth title given to the Christ (or Light, or Love, if you prefer) is King of Nations, based on the prophecy found in Isaiah 2:4: He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Here is the title for Christ/Light/Love with which I most struggle because Jesus, whoever we believe him to be, never asked to be a king. Born in humble surroundings to a teenaged blue collar girl in the midst of an occupied country, Jesus demonstrated that same humbleness his entire life. Whenever people expected him to be king, to wage war, to conquer the Romans, to lift up sword, he did exactly the opposite. Whenever people wanted to name him king, he always pointed above to God, never to himself. Because he would not succumb to the lure and power of being an earthly king, he was crucified.
As I ponder the kingship of Jesus this Advent, I realize that Christians worldwide, often including myself, have taken the easier road of putting Jesus on a throne and worshiping him as king rather than accepting his invitation to follow him in servanthood and humility as a disciple. If we did indeed truly follow King Jesus, then his kingdom would indeed be coming about:
6 The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
9 They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 9: 6-11)
Prayer: O King of Nations, as we long for your coming, for your light and your love, help us to realize that we are the ones you have invited to make your kingdom a reality. So many of us still expect you to be a king who invades this world to “sets things right” as we passively watch, and yet that is not what you proclaimed. If you are truly born in our hearts, then we will follow you—not just worship you–in creating a world where there is no hurt, destruction, war, or injustice. Help us to understand the true nature of your servant-kingship and to accept your invitation to follow. May it be so.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Blessings to you ~ Rosemary firstname.lastname@example.org