As the Feast of Christ the King approaches this weekend, it's worth asking ourselves what kind of kingdom Christ promised us. We know his kingdom is not of this world, and his crown is made of thorns. Will our sacrifices and suffering be worth it? What awaits us after death?
The Book of Revelations tells us that the kingdom of heaven will surpass all our expectations (Rv 21:19-21). In beautiful poetic verses, it describes the New Jerusalem that awaits us:
The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel;
the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.
And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass.The Bible promises us that in heaven, "Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away” (Rv 21:4).
Worshiping Christ the King reminds us that we have a share in his kingdom. We are the sons and daughters of God, a people set apart, a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). He has already crowned us, weak and frail though we are, with the glory and honor of his divinity (Ps 8:4-5).
Whether we know it or not, the kingdom of God is already among us (Lk 17:21). Each time we pray to him with love, each time we seek to do his will, each time we accept trials with calm hearts, we are living up to our royal vocation. Each time we stand up for what's right, proclaim the truth, and hug the hurting, we are building the kingdom.
We have been given an honorable birthright and a glorious crown. At times, we must wear a humiliating and painful crown of thorns. But we look forward with hope in God's promise: "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Rv 2:10).
Image by Ralph Hammann (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons