Text: Matthew 25:31-46
This is the last Sunday of the lectionary cycle, meaning we’re at the end of the church calendar. Next week is Advent 1, the beginning of the new church year.
This is called “Christ the King Sunday,”or “Reign of Christ Sunday.” In closing out the year, the lectionary goes all in with it really being the end. It gives us a judgment scene, the story that Jesus tells in Matthew 25, commonly known as the sheep and the goats. Or, commonly known for the phrase “the least of these,” which becomes the surprise criteria by which people are judged. “Whatever you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done to me,” says the king/judge/son of man/human one/Jesus.
It’s an important line for social justice minded Christians who believe faith has to do with how we live in this world, especially toward vulnerable people. Yet the scene of a gentle and sacrificial savior turned eternal judge also has its own problems. They are problems that the story itself begins to raise, as the sheep and the goats both talk back to the king, questioning why such an arrangement has been made.
I invite you to listen...