Readings: Ezekiel 34: 1-2, 11-24, Psalm 95: 1-7a, Ephesians 1: 15-23, Matthew 25: 31-46
Does a leaf know what the trunk does or what the tap root does? Does a leaf know what the purpose of the bark is? Does a leaf know anything except that it exists and alongside all of the other leaves, it makes the food needed for the tree to grow? Does a leaf know what photosynthesis means or does it just collect the sunlight as the required source of energy it needs to convert the water that comes up the roots through the trunk and branches and the carbon dioxide it gets from the air into the sugar required by the tree to grow. Does the leaf know that as a part of the whole, it is a benefit to all of creation as it’s waste product is the oxygen that all of life needs to exist. Even though asking this question may be giving the leaf abilities it does not possess (anthropomorphism), it still begs how much the leaf knows about the function of the whole?
How much do we know about the function of the whole? How much do we understand about our King? How fully do we grasp the purpose and intention of our Creator? A bunch of small leaves may think that a large leaf is their king, but even a large leaf will not have any idea of how large the whole is and even though it may be vital, it is also replaceable. We are all simply the leaves that form a part of the tree that is the Kingdom of God. Leaves will come and go, and they will make a difference while they are here, but the Tree of life will stand eternal as the one who planted it is eternal.
When we try and understand Christ as King in terms of earthly monarchs, we fall far short of recognising the significance of Christ’s reign. A human monarch is nothing more or less than a human subject. They may have more authority, but that authority is not divine, that authority is given by those who are subject to that authority. The number of revolutions that have disposed those in authority testify to that fact. God’s authority is not given by us or withheld by us. God is King because no other can reign as God reigns. God cannot be revolted against and God cannot be taken from power. Many have tried throughout history, but no-one has the power to reign in God’s place. We may be leaves on the tree and we may help provide whatever the Kingdom needs by living within the Kingdom out of love (not obligation), but the story was never about the leaf, it is about the tree and it is about the One who planted the tree. I wonder how often we want to make the gospel about the leaves. In the story of Christ making the Kingdom of God available to all people, Christ is the Subject, and we are the object. The story is about Jesus; Jesus the King. We are the recipients of the gifts of life and whether we receive it or not, the tree will continue to live and other leaves will add to the whole.