We live in a world where there is lots of noise made talking about separation of church and state. All those discussions will come to an end when we talk about Jesus as the King, which is a political concept. There is absolutely no separation of church and state in this story of the Kingship of Christ. Is there?
This brings us to a new problem that we haven’t properly defined church and state. We haven’t defined what politics is all about and what church is all about. If Christ is both King and Savior of the world, then it is impossible for us to separate church and state.
I heard this story of a great salesman who was sent to the Arab world to sell soft drinks. After a long and hard trip he returned to the base completed failed. His boss was surprised at as what happened to him knowing what he was capable of doing. The salesman responded. When he got his posting in the middle east he did not know how to speak Arabic. Therefore he decided to make his sales pitch in posters of images. He made his first poster of a man who is tired and exhausted. Then he made the second poster that showed this exciting and energizing drink. The third poster showed an energetic and refreshed and rejuvenated guy. But then after spending all these money for these advertising campaign he learned that people in the Middle East read from left to right.
This is what happened to churches across the world over centuries. We are teaching about Christ to a people who have become one directional than multi directional. Either they read from left to right or right to left where as God is written all over. Unless we are able to teach our new and younger generation to read God all over in all directions we will have to divide churches and states. Unless our younger generations are capable of finding God in all intersections of life, we will struggle to find God as King.
Who is a king? For a world like ours that prides itself of its democracy, kingship is not attractive. We came into existence fighting kings’ rule.
Pilate is caught between Jesus in the praetorian and Jews in the courtyard. He is struggling to find the truth. His gut tells him the truth about this man standing in front of him but his stomach, meaning his cravings for power make him want to do otherwise.
The inability to find the truth comes from our inability to sense the whisper of the Holy Spirit within us. Truth is always a gut feeling that pulls us to the right action as we face a challenge in life. Then we have the cravings of daily life that pulls us apart from doing the right thing.
For those who cannot live a truthful life, kingship of God is always scary. God’s ultimate power lies in his capacity to replace power with love whereas man’s limitedness lies in his capacity to replace love with power.
The division of a world into political or religious segments comes from the same question Pilate is asking here. What is the truth? Truthful living has been lost in today’s financially fallen world. Truthful living based on truthful forecasting and planning has been fallen through the cracks of love of power and money.
Why don’t we want God in politics? Because it calls us to speak what we mean, live what we speak and do what we promise. These things are not part of the politics we know of today. With all the pressures of the global village, we are still called to live daily life truthfully loving our neighbor as ourselves.
God is written in all directions. Unless we are able to read and write God in all directions, which calls for truthfulness, compassion, kindness, courage, sternness, and more, we want everything to be compartmentalized and separated.
This is why God is king; because God does not compartmentalize one principle from another and a person from another.
To put it simply:
· Money comes with God – spend it as God wants.
· Sex comes with God – Enjoy it as God meant it to be
· Life comes with God – live it as God wants
· Human being comes with God – respect them as God would
· Politics comes with God – exercise it with power of love.
We share them all with the rest who all comes with God, from God. We are Royalties as I said on last Sunday, because we come from God who hasn’t compartmentalized us into divided human classifications.
What is the kingship of Christ we are celebrating today? It is the celebration of oneness and integrity of life. Kingship calls for truthfulness, inviting us to pay attention to the whisper in our hearts at every turn of life.
Fr. Jos Tharakan (C)