Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Kingdom of God

Remember the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar?" There was a scene in it that perplexed me for years. It was the one in which Herod was taunting Jesus, who had just been arrested. According to the Gospels, Herod had been wanting to see Jesus in person, but Jesus had managed to avoid the confrontation until he was good and ready to see Herod.

In the musical Herod is singing, "So you are the Christ -- you're the great Jesus Christ. Prove to me that you're no fool. Walk across my swimming pool." When I first heard that, I thought the lyricists were hard up for a rhyme. Surely Herod did not have a swimming pool. Was I ever wrong. On a trip to Israel in 2004, I got to visit the ruins of one of Herod's palaces. This one had been at Caesarea on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

Herod had good taste in real estate, but as you can see from the photos, his kingdom is long gone. Only part of the pillars of the palace are left, but something else of real interest to me is also left. It's Herod's swimming pool. He could walk out his back door and either swim in his pool or swim in the sea.

Herod feared Jesus' influence, and for good reason. Herod had no real claim to be king other than political appointment. It is not so with Jesus' kingdom, which is not of this world. This is expressed well in verse 4 of "The day thou gavest," a lovely hymn byJohn Ellerton (1826-1893):

So be it, Lord;
thy throne shall never,
like earth's proud empires,
pass away;
thy kingdom stands,
and grows for ever,
till all thy creatures own thy sway.

Pastor Linda
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

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