URC Daily Devotion 22nd December 2022

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22nd December 2022

O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations)

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

“Who would not fear you, O king of the nations?” (Jer 10:7)

“See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation” (Is 28:16)

“He has made both groups (Jew and Gentile) into one” (Ephesians 2:14)


There are times when I know – not merely speculate about – but know in the utter centre of my consciousness and heart – that God has a great sense of humour.  So, here I am reflecting on this archipelago of readings loosely linking together verses about a uniting monarch who will gather together all the disparate and disputing peoples and will even breach the great divide (of its time and maybe still in ours) of the old and the new believers.  I’m doing so two days before the Queen is buried. Or Elizabeth Windsor as we knew her in our household. I ‘came out’ as a republican nearly thirty years ago, whilst serving as a county councillor not far from Windsor Castle. You can imagine the hoo-haa. 
My republicanism is built upon my interpretation of Biblical admonitions to be wary of earthly monarchs and my concern that rulers who claim to be somehow greater than the mere sinners that we all are, set themselves, and those who follow them, into conflict with our Kingdom-building calling. 
I am very much aware – and vicariously proud – of the witness of our dissenting Protestant forebears who took enormous risks in taking specific sides during the turbulent seventeenth century, including: Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Quakers and Fifth Monarchists (“No King but Jesus!”) 
And yet, these passages remind me that through the sacrifice and triumph of the Christ in Jesus, we are ultimately united together, regardless of the often very important differences of opinions that we hold. 
I know many of my fellow strivers-after-the-truth have come to quite different conclusions both about hereditary monarchs and how to respond more generally to unjust regimes and systems. 

Jesus is the one certainty that unifies us through all times and in all circumstances. It is to him that we all, as equals, cling for our liberation and salvation.  Ultimately, He is our sure foundation and through our belief in Him, whether republicans or monarchists, socialists or capitalists, we are brought together as one. 

King Jesus, whatever our views on worldly issues 
never let us be divided in our love of you. 
Save us! Liberate us! All of us!

Today’s writer

Paul Simon is an Elder at Hadleigh URC.

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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