By Jonathon Schramm, assistant professor of sustainability and environmental education at Goshen College
Reprinted from Advent Devotionals
As contemporary people, I believe that many of us aren’t sure what to make of the role of kings in our lives. For many people, kings are only historical persons, and even in countries where monarchs exist, they are often more figureheads than legislative authorities. This makes it difficult for us to deeply resonate with the idea of Christ as King, although we can certainly see many glimmers in our lives of what that kingship might mean. Personally, I tend to think first of bowing before the King, and trying to live my life in fidelity to Christ as my King.
But Psalm 72 emphasizes a completely different aspect of kingship — the flourishing of justice and peace in a country ruled by a monarch after God’s own heart. The psalmist petitions God to strengthen the king for the express purpose of bringing righteousness and justice to the land. As that happens, even the land itself will bring forth the means for just and prosperous lives for all. This ripple effect moving out from the king’s decrees is likened to steady, life-giving rains, which stands in direct contrast to the images that mark many other Scripture passages of drought and desolation resulting from ungodly monarchs. And of course, if a human monarch can cause this degree of life-giving change, our King Jesus can bring that in its fullness. The wonder of Advent, of course, is that we celebrate the ongoing arrival of this new vitality, even in the dark seasons of our lives. With the psalmist we pray, “blessed be God’s glorious name forever; may God’s glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen!”
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 (NRSV)