An Upside Down Weekend

This weekend’s readings for Christ the King seem to be upside down.  We don’t usually celebrate kingship by focusing on torture, crucifixion, mocking, jeering, offering vinegar or sour wine and abusing our King as detailed in today’s Gospel.  Usually kingship is associated with fine clothes, gold, rich wines, rich food and wealth.  So just what is going on here?  It is no accident that the liturgists ask us to remember Christ’s death as we celebrate this feast of kingship, for Christ is inviting us into a very different kind of kingdom.  It is a kingdom that acknowledges and knows suffering, pain and hardship.  It is a kingdom that redeems these very human experiences, transforming them through a King who lays down his life for his friends into something far more glorious and real than we can possibly imagine.

I had a glimpse of Christ’s Kingdom last night at the launch of Lyn’s House book: “A Kind of Upside-Downness” (published by JKP books).  It has been created from the stories that tell of the foundation and continual creation of a different kind of community.  We are delighted to have Lyn’s House as part of the wider Margaret Beaufort Community as the community members live in the Lodge within our grounds. They are a quiet witness to the upside-downness of the kingdom of God and that was tangible last night.

Within this warm and friendly gathering of past and present members of the community, the steering group, the volunteers and friends it did not matter who or what anyone was, what mattered was that we were there, accepted and acknowledged, loved for being ourselves.  I was aware of the struggle many there have had dealing with the earthly kingdom’s statutory authorities that seemly  focus on fitting into criteria for care and benefits and  what someone cannot do or achieve.  For this gathering none of that mattered and for a while that struggle could be forgotten, as we celebrated with cake, wine, dance, words, pictures and handprints the upside downness of the Kingdom of God.

Sue Price, Pastoral Outreach Coordinator