Saturday of the Week of Advent I
I will exalt you, O God my King, and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you and praise your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; there is no end to his greatness….
The Lord is near to those who call upon him,
to all who call upon him faithfully. (Psalm 145)
This psalm is one of several which use an alphabetic device in Hebrew in which every line begins with the next letter of the alphabet. It doesn’t translate, obviously, into English. The message is conveyed in the method — that the Lord is to be exalted and glorified in all things — from A to Z, we would say!
As we read/pray/sing this psalm, it is in recognition that Jesus Christ is our King — whose name we will bless forever and ever! It moves between praise for his majesty and greatness, while acknowledging that he gives us our food in due season, satisfying the needs of every living creature. It affirms that the Lord is righteous in all his ways, yet loving in all his works. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, yet he is near to those who call upon him.
It shouldn’t go without notice that Advent follows immediately upon the Festival of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the church year. After we celebrate Jesus Christ who is our King, we enter into Advent, asking, “who is this King, Jesus — and what kind of a king is he?” Our psalm for today answers that question fully and richly!
What does it mean for us, living in the 21st century in North America, to acknowledge Christ as our “King?” Many Christians today prefer not to use the title “King” or “Lord” for Jesus, partly because they are considered masculine terms, but surely because they would rather imagine Jesus as “friend,” “buddy,” or “kindly bachelor uncle bearing gifts.” But we dare not dismiss this biblical image too quickly, for “King” has to do with sovereignty, dominion over our lives and our total submission as we yield to Jesus’ power and authority over us and all that we have and are. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, are we welcoming him as Christ, our King?
Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus — come and be our King! Amen.
Advent Action: Google, or look-up, “King” in a dictionary or encyclopedia. What does Christ, as King, mean for your life?
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.