The expression “King me!” is as worn as middle-aged memories of earlier days spent round a checker board. Yet, it is arresting and explosively current. Because, said this way, it is not the typical way in which we commonly use and hear the noun “king.” Here, “King me!” takes and twirls about something static; it flips the verbal board. “kingdom” no longer is a latent locale, and “King” cannot possibly be some dead guy. No, the expression “King me!” is infused with active verb-like force, movement, and expectancy. Someone is active, and radically so.
The converting of noun to verb, “King me!”, should be heard as a cry from abject humility, having somehow snaked along still alive through the pitfalls of the deadly game to this place, where there are no more moves nor possible wheeling about to further trudge dimly along. “King me!” now is not personal triumph, but an appeal and submission to Sovereign reign and mission. It is confession of need, and faith! “King me!” means not that now there is some other king lounging about the checkerboard. This is all about the reign and rule of the only King, and nothing so much about the peon.
In Christ, by faith—first at baptism, affirmed in growing conscious confession, communion-enlivened by the Lord’s Body, by the work of the Word daily dying and rising to repentance and faith—the Lord of the Church, Christ Jesus, is “kingdom-ing me.” As my friend, Dr. Gaylan Mathiesen, is fond of saying (paraphrased here), it is not so much that the Church has a mission and possesses God’s kingdom, but that God’s Mission has a Church and is possessed by his advancing kingdom.
Do you know what the checker pieces on the simple board game are called? I learned recently they are called men or sometimes stones. We are only ever men. There is only one King. But his reign arriving to us and through us has such retrofitted purpose and vigor for us stone-men! The game-changing prediction of Ezekiel comes to mind, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. …Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘when I am proved holy through you before their eyes. …I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees…’” (Ezekiel 36:22-23, 25-27).
Oh, yes! Do Lord, do Lord, do come and Kingdom me!
Rev. Paul Larson is President of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.