This coming Sunday we mark the close of the church calendar. Once again we have walked through the events of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, and the life of the church. This cycle concludes with the Sunday known as “Christ the King” or “Reign of Christ.” Over the course of this week, our readings will re-present the story of how God in Jesus fulfilled his promise to send the true king, not only for the people of Israel but for the whole world.
We close the church year with a reminder of the very beginning of the biblical story. The prophet Jeremiah tells us that God will gather the “remnant of my flock” and return them to their land where they shall “be fruitful and multiply.” This promise echoes God’s original intention for humanity from Genesis 1:28. God created us in love and placed us in a world where we could flourish and live into our identity as divine image-bearers.
When God called the people of Israel to be the chosen, God intended that they would live into this full-bodied vision. By the time of Jeremiah, however, the people of Israel and Judah have strayed from God’s desires for them. In these verses, God’s wrath extends particularly to those who shepherd the people, the leadership who has scattered the flock. But God reaffirms a steadfast love for the ”scattered sheep,” promising them a way of return to the fold.
God wants us to grow into the fullness of who God created us to be. In what areas of our lives do we see ourselves coming alive, aware of God’s presence and of the divine gifts given? In what areas of our lives do we feel diminished by fear, distraction, or selfishness? May we find greater freedom to embrace the abundant life God intends for us.

Lord, help me to live into your vision for my life that I may bear fruit that reveals your glory. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 23:33-43

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Lectionary Week
November 14–20, 2016
Scripture Overview

Each of the passages for this week addresses the ends served by divine power. Jeremiah characterizes king- ship by wisdom, justice, and safety. The exercise of kingly power is on behalf of God’s people rather than against them. The read- ing from Colossians praises the cosmic dimensions of Christ whose exaltation is not an end in itself, for the task of Christ is one of reconciliation. The goal of Christ’s kingship moves to center stage in the passage from Luke. The bystanders and one of the criminals executed with Jesus know what it means to be a king, so they taunt Jesus with the demand that he use his power to save himself. For Jesus, however, a king is not one who saves himself but one who saves others.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Jeremiah 23:1-6. What experiences do you recall of leaders in various arenas not being wise shepherds of the people and the people’s resources?
• Read Luke 1:68-79. The song of Zechariah is this-worldly and political. In what ways does the song encourage you to view the baby in the manger in a different light?
• Read Colossians 1:11-20. How has Jesus revealed himself as your king this past year?
• Read Luke 23:33-43. Jesus came as a different king, a dif- ferent kind of messiah than people expected. Recall a time when God’s response in a situation differed

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This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.