As I write this, the state funeral of President George H. W. Bush is on TV in the lobby of the downtown Durham hotel where I sit. As the President’s casket is brought into the cathedral, I’m struck by two things.
One is the universality of human frailty. A Commander-in-Chief has died. We are all equally powerless against death, no matter how much power we accrue in this life. On a similar note of frailty, many of the faces of the powerful who have gathered for the funeral look—with all due respect—old. Bodies are hunched. Diminished.
The other thing has to do with the presidential families on the front row. The Bushes. The Carters. The Clintons. The Obamas. The Trumps. Very different reigns. Very different philosophies on the use of power. Very different goals.
In contrast, in Hebrews 1, the sermon passage for Sunday, the author opens with a profound declaration of the cosmic supremacy of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Over all other reigns, Christ reigns.
Over all human frailty, and even death, Christ reigns.
The Word says it this way:
“After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” —Hebrews 1:3
“The right hand” is figurative language for the place of honor and all power. “Sat down” is figurative language for the fact that Christ’s supreme reign is settled, uncontested, complete, and total. “After making purification for sins” on the cross and rising from the dead, His supremacy is a done deal.
Christ, who came to give his life for ours, reigns supreme.
Christ, who came not to be served but to serve, reigns supreme.
Christ, who gave up all power to bless the powerless, reigns supreme.
Christ, whom death itself could not hold in its grip, reigns supreme.
Christ, whose goal is always the glory of God, who is love, reigns supreme.
Very different from the kings and presidents of this world.
Over the seeming chaos in our nations, in our workplaces, and in our kitchens, Christ reigns supreme.
We’ll dive deeper Sunday. Until then, may you and I submit our every word and deed to Jesus Christ, who loves us, who came for us, who died for us, and who reigns forever. Amen.