Chapter & verse: Ephesians 1:22
What sort of king is Christ? asks Rosalind Selby
In the last two weeks before the end of the lectionary year, the readings set have the theme of Christ the King. I’ve chosen the Ephesians reading for 22 November.
Christ the King. Christ our King? Christ what sort of King? Christ, King over ‘all things’? What does this mean for us? What does it mean for ‘all things’?
With an interest in ecological readings of the Bible, I notice that here in Ephesians, and in Colossians (1:20), the reign of Christ is for all creation. Similarly, the final reign of Christ, when God has rolled up history and embraced it into God’s self, is for all creation. Where much of Scripture is focussed on human beings’ relationship with God, and the love and mercy shown to us, there are, as it were, bookends that tell a story of all creation’s place in this.
Genesis 1 paints a beautiful picture of a creating God in conversation with other-than-human creation. God speaks each element of creation into being and calls it ‘good’, in appreciation of what she has become. This cannot, at this point, be good for humankind’s purpose, because we are not in the picture. ‘Good’ could be aesthetically good, good in itself, good in relationship with her Creator, or all of these: God revelled in all the other-than-human things God was making.
We have this picture of Christ’s kingship of ‘all things’ when, once again, what was good and appreciated by the Creator is valued and has a place in the final kingdom. That must mean that, with all the harm humankind has done to what God saw was good (as Paul suggests in Romans 8), creation can sigh as she waits for her redemption just as much as we do.
What a year this has been. Two of its most significant features make me reflect afresh on what creation-kingship for the Church means.
Is Christ the king of the coronavirus? What a question! But it’s not a question that’s peculiar to the virus…
Rosalind Selby is Principal of Northern College, Manchester
This is an extract from an article published in the November 2020 edition of Reform