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Psalm 72:1-7; 10-14

1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son. 2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. 3 May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness. 4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.

5 May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. 6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. 7 In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts. 11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service.

12 For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. 13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. 14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.

This psalm was likely read or sung at the coronation of the king and likely shared on the anniversary of his coronation every year. Imagine if you will the king leading the parade, gathering at the steps of the palace, and there anointed with oil by the prophet, signifying to everyone gathered that this one is the one to be the king of the people. Read the song again and see the hope that is encompassed in these words. What a celebration it must have been.

And we as Christians cannot help but see the newborn king, lying in a manger, as the one who fulfills all these hopes – justice and righteousness and deliverance, lifting up the lowly and the poor, and saving the lives of the needy. This is what Jesus’ ministry will be. This will be his mission.

On Epiphany, we will greet the Magi who come from distant lands with gifts fit for a king. Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh – not gifts you would usually find at Babies R Us! But Jesus life and ministry look nothing like your ordinary king, do they? No palace. No army. No trappings of royalty. Oh, we see glimpses of it along the way – the processional of Palm Sunday, the compassion for the lowly, the anointing with oil. But instead of being a victorious warrior, this one comes to die.

It will not be until he is nailed to a cross with a banner above his head that reads, “This is the King of the Jews” that he receives his crown.

A different kind of king? Absolutely. A servant king – a king who washes the feet of his disciples. A king who says, “the first will be last.” A king who can bring vengeance and wrath, but instead offers forgiveness, mercy, hope and love.

No one expected such a king. And yet, Jesus is the one whose reign continues today. We are invited to join the coronation celebration as Children of the King to carry out the mission of the King. We pray for it every Sunday, don’t we? Your kingdom come. Your will be done.

Let us pray: Almighty God, we give thanks for your Son, Christ the King. As you lift us up, care for us, lead us, love us, and forgive us, lift us up and direct us in your ways, so that your kingdom may come and your will be done. May we be your hands and feet to carry out the mission. We pray this in the name of the newborn King, Jesus the Christ. Amen

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