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Everyone wants a king

Everyone is always seeking a saviour. A person who will fix all the problems. Cause the warring parties to become friends. Make everyone happy and prosperous and popular. Make America, or Melbourne, or Murrumbeena Uniting Church, great again. Everyone wants a messiah, a king. Someone onto whom to offload the responsibility, which rightfully belongs to us all.


In the coming weeks churches across the world will be reading stories about kings. Good kings, bad kings, kings anointed and appointed seemingly by God. But just before we get into these stories, this week offers us a warning. In the story, God warns the people, through the mouthpiece of the prophet Samuel, about the downside of kings. The king will take your sons and send them to war, take your daughters and make them work for the empire, take your harvests and your livestock to build the wealth of the palace at the expense of the people.


There is an alternative, says God, in this story. And the alternative is what they already have: that God is their king. The God who liberated the people when they were enslaved in Egypt: this is the God who wants to be their king. But the people don’t want the liberation-God anymore. They would rather be enslaved to a man they call king.


I wonder why. Why do people prefer slavery, over a God who takes the role as ultimate leader? What does it mean for God to be king, anyway? I think about the Christian concept of a God who is not some bearded monad sitting in a throne in the sky, but is a community of three, existing in a perpetual dance. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Life-giver, Pain-bearer, Love-maker. Speaker, Word, Breath. What if this God were to become ultimate leader of our societies, our communities? How would this kind of government run? How would we participate? What postures would we need to assume? How would our hearts and ears and mouths need to change, such that we allowed this God to be in charge?


It sounds like a lot of work. It sounds like a lifetime of learning to bend our ears and hearts and wills to the three-in-one, dancing liberation-God. It sounds very difficult. In the words of Homer Simpson, “Can’t someone else do it?” No wonder we all want a king.

Words by Rev Andreana

Photo by Pixabay

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