There are many “k’s” associated with Thanksgiving: kin ie family, kindness, kissing folks as they arrive and probably more but I thought about kings. Those first pilgrims traveled into an unknown future because they were fleeing the kingship of King George III. For some it was a journey to find a place of religious freedom so they could worship God as they saw fit. For others, I’m sure it was an adventure. Some came as indentured servants. Many died in route. The “Boston Tea Party” that later occurred was symbolic of the tension of a king far away imposing his will on the colonies – taxation without representation! So, today we do not have a king but a President. The country the pilgrims came to did not have kings but chiefs, I suspect a similar dynamic, and thus not only ethnic conflict but to some degree the battle over who gets to control of what happens in “their kingdom.”
Next Thursday we are to go to worship and give thanks for the bounty of this last year. We might credit our President for some influence although we have been under two battling philosophies. Many are not looking at bounty now but grieving loss on several fronts. Others would for sure not think our “king” has much to do with our blessings but our own hard work. We will feast, give an obligatory prayer if necessary, and shift to the TV and Christmas. But the question still hangs in the air – on thanksgiving, whom do we acknowledge as the “king” in our life, to whom do we give thanks for our blessings, and to whom we are willing to bend our knee?
All four gospels tell of the final trial of Jesus before Pilate, the Roman authority. Pilate is astounded to hear that Jesus is being accused of being the king of the Jews. He is accused of treason, deserving death. Caesar who considered himself a god or a god representative anyway, was the ultimate authority all people in his empire owed allegiance to. Pilate turns to Jesus and asks if he is a “king.” Jesus answers that his kingdom is not of this world. Pilate returns to face the crowd.
- John 19: “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
So this thanksgiving, who will you acknowledge as your “king”? Who is the ultimate authority in your life? Wow, there is a question worth pondering and what that allegiance implies. Perhaps take a few minutes and list on a piece of paper five ways that you bow to the “king” in your life, and five benefits of being in that kingdom. Blessings as you reflect. But remember, we have representation. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father!