Not From Around Here

This Sunday is Reign of Christ Sunday! Christians all over the world will affirm that no matter how disturbing the world looks to us, Christ reigns over all, bringing truth, grace, and peace.

It’s a hard message to believe. What strikes me about the passage for this Sunday, John 18:33-37, is how Jesus tells Pilate his kingdom is not from this world. He was born to come into the world to testify to the truth.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to see what’s really going on in a system. This is the role therapists play. It’s the role consultants play when an organization’s own internal resources fail to put it on the right path.

Jesus was not from around here. And that is a Good Thing. As a healer, and truth-teller, Jesus is best positioned to do what needs to be done precisely because he’s not from around here.

If we are to “welcome all,” we in the church need to remember that those who aren’t from around our church might be sent on God’s errand to tell us a truth we may be reluctant to hear, but that has healing power in it. That’s the gift of new members, new pastors, new elders, new Presbyterians. And it is up to those who ARE from around here, to keep welcoming and including and connecting to these new people so that together, we learn how God would have us love and serve.

As we enter into a season where more and more people may feel moved to visit a church for the first time, let’s take this lesson to heart: Jesus himself was not from around here. And that is the Good News!