Scar menacingly growls out “Long Live the King!” as he hurls Mufasa to his death. This scene from the old movie, Lion King, uses half of a historic phrase.
The full line is “The King is Dead, Long Live the King.” This contradictory sounding statement marked the death of one monarch and the ascension of the next. The claim was that it helped sooth uncertainty by assuring the public of continuity.
We could spin the phrase into a metaphor for the work of Christ. Jesus also taught His disciples to pray: May your Kingdom come. May King Jesus truly be given His rightful place in our prayer this month.
So, let’s break this down.
The King is Dead
It’s always good to go back and remind ourselves of the basics. I don’t ever want us to be lax theologically. However, sometimes in our desire to get our theology right and explain it well, we lose our wonder. From time to time, it’s important to simply let the weight of what Jesus did drive us to marvel.
Use your imagination to be there, at the foot of the cross. Look up into the face of the Creator of the universe, the Lord of everything, as He hangs dying for you. Imagine the love that is evident on His face as He looks at you, His child. This cross is a manifestation of that love. He stepped out of heaven for you. He went to this cross for you. Although He rightfully is king, because of this love the kingship becomes personal. He has won our hearts. He has the scars to prove it. As the songwriter Brian Doerksen says, “My King has got scars on His hands.”
Spend some time absorbing that. Then let it shape how you respond to Him in word and deed.
Long Live the King
Thankfully, the cross is not the end of the story. Last month we celebrated Easter. For me, that is always one of the greatest days of the year. We celebrate life! Long Live the King is exactly the right phrase to express the fact that we have hope because Jesus is alive. Our good and great king is furthering His work, growing all that acknowledges His rule and reign. I was reminded of this the other day as I read the words of Psalm 93:
The Lord is King! He is robed in majesty. Indeed, the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. Your throne, O Lord, has stood from time immemorial. You Yourself are from the everlasting past…Your reign, O Lord, is holy forever and ever.
The king who is mightier than all, sits on the throne forever. If that doesn’t influence our prayer, I don’t know what else will.
May Your Kingdom Come
That brings us to praying for the kingdom to come. We could spend a lot of time talking about what the kingdom is. But again, I wonder if that might actually lead us away from the focal point of the prayer. Isn’t the main point to be servants and followers of the King? Do we pray for the reign and rule of Christ to grow in our lives and in our world? Are we grateful for the opportunity to be ambassadors for the King? Do we represent the kingdom well? Do our lives and our prayers align?
These are all great questions. I’m hoping that as we ask them, it drives us deeper into listening and communicating with our ever present King.