I decided to do a little blogsurfing before heading to bed. And then I remembered that I didn't talk about how worship went this morning. Duh! Well, worship went fine. I turned on the sound system as soon as I got to church and it didn't feedback my ears out, so I thought it was fine. But then one of the ushers was checking it and the sound wasn't going through it. He didn't know what to do, but luckily I did! We just put a recharged battery in it (I knew where they were from previous experience with that issue) and it was A-Ok. So, worship went well. The Sunday school kids sang. I always love that. I didn't totally botch anything, so that was good. And I got good comments at both churches. So, I finally decided that I will post a sermon. Here it is:
Church Message 18
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
couldn’t put Humpty together again.”
When I was a little kid, I liked this nursery rhyme, although I didn’t like the fact that poor Humpty Dumpty was broken forever. I mean, really. Not even all of the king’s horses and all the king’s men could put him back together again? That’s got to be a mistake. The king should be able to train his people so that they could put the poor character back together. He’s the king, after all, isn’t he!? But alas, poor Humpty Dumpty was never the same after his fall. And then I wonder, “Why was Humpty sitting on such a high wall anyway? Was he a daredevil? Was he haughtily trying to prove to those around him that he was important because he could be physically higher than they were?” I’m reminded of the characters in “The King and I” where the king demanded that Anna always be lower than he was. I imagine Humpty Dumpty must have been at least remotely important, or why else would the king trouble himself with sending out his horses and men to try to fix him? If Humpty was just some no good vagrant on the streets, Humpty probably would have just been disregarded from the outset. But instead, the king sent ALL of his horses and ALL of his men to try to remedy the situation, unfortunately to no avail. Bummer for Humpty.
As I look back on this nursery rhyme, I wonder if perhaps Humpty was able to live out his life in the shattered pieces and mess that he must have existed as once the king’s horses and men gave up on him. Maybe he could at least live with a relative or friend who could take care of him. A shelter or a mission could take him in, don’t you think? Humpty could find his livelihood doing something else besides sitting on high walls. Maybe he could get a nice desk job somewhere where the biggest threat to his safety was a paper cut on his already broken and battered self. Or maybe he could be a motivational speaker to those who were feeling like their lives had turned for the worse and were unredeemable.
Then I think that maybe Humpty was not popular at all. Maybe he was sitting high on the wall on a dare, in order to gain popularity. Perhaps he was a little too clumsy and awkward to have risked the stunt, considering what happened to him. I don’t know the answers to these questions, but the ending in the nursery rhyme leaves too many questions about Humpty Dumpty’s future.
Today’s Gospel lesson also involves a lot of questions. Pilate asked Jesus questions. Jesus answered Pilate not with actual answers, necessarily, but with more questions. Pilate then asked even more questions. Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom was not from this world. I imagine that would be a difficult concept for Pilate to grasp, considering that worldly kingdoms were all he knew. Pilate served under the Roman king Caesar. It was through Caesar that Pilate had any power at all. Pilate must have been taken aback by the unexpected reply that Jesus gave about where His kingdom existed.
But the unexpected abounds in today’s Gospel lesson. Jesus, the heralded king of the Jews was on trial. In today’s world, most world leaders are granted immunity. This was not so for Jesus because immunity would have ruined His plan of salvation. Another unexpected occurrence happened when Jesus turned the tables on Pilate. Jesus asked Pilate many questions instead of answering the ones posed to him. When I think of defendants who question the judge, I think of one phrase: “Contempt of court.”
But Jesus’ whole life was lived in an amazingly unexpected way. We are about to embark on our Advent journey where we will once again hear the stories of how He was unexpectedly conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit to a virgin. We can also remember hearing about how Jesus, the Word made flesh, came and lived among us, and was rejected by many, even though not one thing came into being without Him. We recall miracle stories where the dead are brought back to life, the deaf are made to hear, and the blind are given sight; all unexpected things. And even in today’s Gospel lesson we can see the unexpected ways in which Jesus lived His life, betrayed by His own people, and yet willing and ready to die for them to allow for their salvation.
It is rather ironic that in today’s lesson, Pilate is asking Jesus for truth. It is ironic because the Truth was standing right there in front of Him in the person of Jesus Christ. But, Pilate instead chose to go against truth and believe the lies and fabrications with which the Jewish authorities had charged Jesus. But again, Jesus was not surprised. Jesus tells us that He came to testify to the truth, and that those who belong to the truth listen to His voice. Pilate didn’t listen to the voice of Truth. Instead, he sought to pacify the crowds of Pharisees and Scribes and have Jesus crucified. But, the great thing is, Jesus once again blew away all expectations that the people had of him on that first Easter morning when He rose defiantly against the powers of sin and death.
Today is Christ the King Sunday; a day that we celebrate Jesus as the triumphant King of creation. He set His face toward Jerusalem, full well knowing that He would be arrested, put to trial, and executed once He went there. But, Jesus went anyway. Why? Because He realized our sinful brokenness. Because all the king’s horses and all the king’s men are unable to do what He alone can do: bring us to the Father. Like Humpty Dumpty, we are all broken and perhaps a little clumsy. In the song “Clumsy” by Chris Rice, he sings, “I get so clumsy, and I get so foolish. I can get so stupid, and then I feel so useless. But you’re saying you love me, and you’re still gonna hold me, and that you wanna be near me cause you’re making me holy.” Instead of sending all of His horses and men, the King came to do the job right for all who trust in Him. Because we’re all important and we all have value in His eyes, despite our shortcomings and failures. Yes, Jesus did many unexpected things in His lifetime because he’s the king and because the King is the only one who is truly able to pick us up, brush us off, and put us back together again in order to make us complete and whole.
So, that's it. See ya, cuz now my shoulder and arm really hurt bad!