Tonight as I watched a report on the insanely popular series “A Game of Thrones,” I couldn’t help but notice the contrast between royalty as portrayed there and royalty as celebrated on Palm Sunday.
Jesus Christ was – is – a different kind of royalty, to say the least.
Today in church we recalled His riding into Jerusalem as triumphant King on a donkey. We spoke of how the peace this Prince of Peace brings is not one brought out of unholy alliances but one that is true, eternal, never to be defeated by the petty monarchs of this world. We remembered how He spoke of how his kingdom is not of this world and we set the stage for this Holy Week’s celebration of how all that unfolded in the most amazing of ways via a crucifixion.
All this challenges us to take seriously how the King of Kings and Lord of Lords calls us to be different too.
We are to be in the world, but not of it.
We are to stand firm against evil, yet compassionately love others.
We are to walk the straight and narrow path of the righteous, without becoming self-righteous in the process.
We are to “take up our cross daily” without complaint.
It’s a challenging, demanding, but ultimately fulfilling and life-giving path.
We are to follow Jesus to Jerusalem to Golgotha to the empty tomb to the Ascension – to become as those who are empowered by the Spirit of God to be the people of God.
In it all, we follow heavenly royalty that is anything but the kind of king we see too often celebrated by popular culture.
Contrary to what some would say, it is not the stuff of fantasy. Life doesn’t get any more real than this and the only dragon in sight is the devil, defeated, once and for all.
Now that’s a story worth watching.
By Paul Simrell
The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
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